Glasgow (AFP) – Rangers ended a nine-year wait to beat Celtic away from home as goals from Ryan Kent and Nikola Katic earned a 2-1 win at Celtic Park to take control of the Scottish Premiership title race.
Steven Gerrard’s men still trail Celtic by two points, but have a game in hand on the Scottish champions as they aim to end a run of eight straight league titles for the green-and-white half of Glasgow.
Celtic were left to rue Ryan Christie’s penalty miss with the score at 0-0 as they suffered a first home league defeat since May 2018.
Rangers’ top scorer Alfredo Morelos was sent off in stoppage time for the second time in three games and the seventh occasion over the past two seasons as his wait for an Old Firm goal continued.
However, that will matter little to Rangers after claiming arguably the biggest win of Gerrard’s managerial career so far.
Rangers dominated the League Cup final between the sides earlier this month, but were left to rue a host of missed chances and a stunning goalkeeping performance from Fraser Forster as 10-man Celtic claimed the trophy.
The pattern from that match continued, though, and this time Rangers got their reward.
After a bright start from the visitors it was Celtic who were gifted a huge chance to take the lead just after the half hour mark when Katic was penalised for holding Christopher Jullien from a corner.
Forster saved Morelos’s penalty in the cup final three weeks ago and the goalkeeper again came out on top as this time Alan McGregor got down low to his left to turn Christie’s spot-kick to safety.
Celtic maintained the pressure and Jullien, who scored the winner the last time the sides met, saw a header cleared off the line by Steven Davis.
Just as the hosts were beginning to take control, Rangers scored their first goal against their bitter rivals in three games this season.
Kent was a constant menace in two wins over Celtic last season and was the man to provide a moment of quality as he smashed Borna Barisic’s low cross in off the post.
The lead lasted just six minutes, though, as luck shined on Celtic when Callum McGregor’s shot deflected in off the arm of Odsonne Edouard’s hand and was not spotted by referee Kevin Clancy.
Morelos has scored 28 goals this season but has still not netted in 12 meetings against Celtic and was desperate to atone for a host of missed chances in the cup final.
The Colombian had a huge chance to restore Rangers’ lead early in the second half but spooned over after a brilliant low cross from Kent left the goal at his mercy.
Rangers had to wait just six minutes longer to get back in front as they peppered the Celtic goal with a series of set-pieces and the pressure paid off when Katic powered home a Barisic corner.
McGregor was needed to make two big saves as Jullien threatened again from a corner before Boli Bolingoli’s long-range strike was beaten away.
Morelos saw red with virtually the last action of the game as he saw a second booking for diving inside the area.
However, Rangers comfortably saw out the final stages to snap Celtic’s 11-game winning streak in the league and set up a thrilling title race when the action resumes in the new year after a three-week winter break.
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