Celtic-Rangers: 2-1 Victory a Mere Consolation for the Bhoys
Celtic continued their winning streak in the league after sneaking a 2-1 home win against rivals Rangers. As always, a few refereeing decisions were at the centre of attention, but this time favouring the home side.
A typically scrappy and feisty match, which had plenty of bookings and one sending off, it also bizarrely included four goalkeepers after injuries to each side's respective No. 1's.
The first of these injuries came in the opening minutes, when Allan McGregor landed awkwardly and twisted his right knee.
His replacement, Neil Alexander, managed to touch the ball just once before he had to pick the ball out the back of the net. Lee Naylor's scuffed free kick deflected off David Weir and nestled in the bottom corner.
Celtic then dominated the rest of the first half, but either side only managed half-chances for the next half hour.
However, in the 43rd minute, Rangers equalised out of the blue.
Whittaker's perfect cross was met by Kenny Miller, who headed into the bottom corner past Artur Boruc.
But almost immediately, the home team took the lead again.
A similar set-up to the Gers goal, this time Marc-Antoine Fortune out-jumped Steven Smith to head through Alexander's legs, taking Celtic into halftime on a high.
The second half was a different story, however.
After a slow start, Celtic began to back off a little, and Miller started to have more of a say.
His shot deflected wide by Darren O'Dea was the only action Artur Boruc got to see after the break, literally, as he went off with broken fingers. Fellow countryman Lukasz Zaluska replaced him.
Not long after this, Miller had his best chance of the half. After a smart one-two with American Maurice Edu, the Scot volleyed the ball agonisingly wide of the post, a costly miss, it seemed.
Celtic captain Scott Brown then missed a golden opportunity, heading over after O'Dea nodded the ball back across goal, following Naylor's corner.
It was late on in the match when the refereeing controversy began.
Substitute Nacho Novo's shot was clearly blocked by O'Dea's arm, with the unfortunate Miller hitting the post afterwards. Rangers players protested to referee Calum Murray, but the Irishman got away with it.
Rangers pushed forward, but all hope looked lost when Lee McCulloch was given his marching orders after a second booking.
However, replays showed there was no contact whatsoever with Aiden McGeady, the Irish winger clearly diving with intention to get McCulloch sent off.
Celtic saw out the remaining minutes of injury time with minimal fuss to secure their first victory against Rangers for over a year, a result which will certainly not harm managerial candidate Neil Lennon's chances.
And it gave the home fans something to smile about after a horrendous season.
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