Rangers player ratings v Celtic: How Fashion Sakala, Steven Davis and John Lundstram shaped up in title crunch
Rangers head into Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg on a high after a spirited second half display against Celtic extended the title race by at least another week – and the gap at the top of the cinch Prmeiership could have been cut.
The draw means the gap at the top remains six points with nine still to play for, and the goal difference - 19 in Celtic’s favour – intact.
Fashion Sakala fired in an equaliser to cancel out Jota’s opener, and hit the post late on as the visitors piled on the pressure for the win. It was not to be but there is encouragement for Giovanni van Bronckhorst ahead of Thursday night's crucial game.
He fielded a strong starting XI despite the semi-final looming and was rewarded by the performance, despite falling behind to the Portuguese winger in the first half. He drifted into the box to beat Borna Barisic to Daizen Maeda’s goalmouth pass and put his side infront after an even opening where both sides had chances – particularly Ryan Kent in a carbon copy which he fired wide.
Maeda could have extended Celtic’s lead with a header but it was a midfield battle and while Celtic finished the first period stronger, Rangers impressed in the second and equalised through Sakala’s low drive and the Zambian also hit the post as his game rose to a crescendo as 90 minutes approached.
It remained level though and while Celtic attention turns to the title – six points ahead with nine to play – Rangers now look to RB Leipzig on Thursday.
Here’s how Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side shaped up as they denied their rivals a win and a title expectation party.