Rangers were helpless when Celtic came with fury and pace. The win in the Old Firm Derby gave a few more memorable moments for the Celtics as they have ended their seven-game winless run against the Rangers. Also, it’s the Rangers’ first defeat in 13 games. Postecoglou’s men are now 18 league fixtures without loss after ending the seven-game winless run in Old Firm derbies and are at the summit of the division for the first time since August. Last season, Celtic finished 25 points behind Rangers. Now, looking at that situation, Celtic has come a long way.
After a couple of years, it was one of the best Old Firm Derbies as the tension was building up from the start itself. Celtic had a superb start, securing their first goal after six minutes when Rangers cleared a corner directly to Hatate, whose deflected shot from the edge of the box went past Allan McGregor.
Celtic continued their dominance throughout the first half but had to wait until the 42nd minute to double their lead, with Japanese midfielder combining with Abada and unleashing a strike that again found the bottom right-hand corner.
Two minutes later, the third and final goal of the game arrived. Hatate, the match’s hero, turned to provide the goal after scoring the brace. He sprinted through the left flank after beating Tavernier. He crossed the ball, and Liel Abada scored the third with a volley.
Gers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst made three halftime substitutions, including the Manchester United loanee Amad Diallo. But it was not enough as the Rangers did not show any aggressiveness or pace to combat with that of their opponents.
At Celtic Park, there were no away fans. Only the 60,000 roaring Celtic fans were present, which was also an advantage for the home side.
As Rangers looked to find a comeback in the second half, Celtic started to press for more goals.
Celtic had plenty of opportunities to add a fourth as well, with McGregor denying Jota from a corner and then palming O’Riley’s speculative volley over the bar from a narrow-angle.
“Super proud of the players,” Postecoglou told Celtic TV post-match.
“Everyone knew it was a big game with massive consequences on it. We knew what it meant to our supporters. I thought our first half of football was outstanding. Really quality play, great goals.”
“Second half we had to defend a bit more but again we’ve shown we can do that.”
Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst: “It seemed like it was the first Old Firm game we’d played. We know what it will bring, and we know what to do. It seemed like we weren’t ready for it.
“We’re not the first Rangers team to lose. I lost big here as a player, but we eventually became champions that year. These games don’t decide the championship.”