Scottish Premiership
Celtic0Rangers0

Celtic 0-0 Rangers

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Both sides miss good chances as the second Old Firm game of the season ends goalless.

Scott Sinclair and Alfredo Morelos missed clear chances in each half as the final Old Firm game of 2017 ended in a stalemate.

Celtic created the better opportunities in a first half that ended with Sinclair hitting wide from close range.

Rangers were on top after the break, and Morelos' point-blank header bounced off goalkeeper Craig Gordon's knee.

The draw keeps Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic 11 points clear of their Glasgow rivals.

It was a game of rushed passes and missed chances; frenetic and hugely flawed. Amid the mayhem you might have expected Celtic to bring some composure, but they rarely found it. This was the first time since March 2016 that Celtic had failed to score at home.

Celtic attacker Scott Sinclair shoots wide in Old Firm encounter
Celtic attacker Scott Sinclair skewed his side's best chance wide in the first half

In their battle to survive, you thought that Rangers might offer some belligerence. They did. They got lucky at times, but there was a bite, if not a quality to their play, that shook Celtic out of their rhythm.

Rangers created the first chance of the day, with a little help from their high-press and some assistance from harried opponents. Scott Brown was hustled, Mikael Lustig was harassed. The Swede, as was the case so often throughout the derby, dithered and lost possession and Gordon was required to bail him out with a save from Morelos.

The visitors forced multiple errors from the champions, but Celtic still managed to get a dominant hold on the game. They played well only in pockets of the match, but should have put the encounter to bed during those mini-spells.

Moussa Dembele had the first chance, but was weak with his finish at the near post. The Frenchman, once again, looked a pale imitation of this multi-million pound striker we keep hearing about.

Rangers captain Bruno Alves injured at Celtic Park
Rangers captain Bruno Alves lasted only 18 minutes after injuring himself in a heavy landing

Next, James Forrest had a pop and was only denied by a fine finger-tip save from Wes Foderingham. Soon after, Sinclair had the first of two great opportunities. Dembele's looping header was parried away by Foderingham to Sinclair, who had two stabs at goal and couldn't get the job done.

Rangers' task wasn't made any easier by Bruno Alves limping off after 18 minutes, and the Portuguese centre-back later left Celtic Park on crutches. David Bates replaced him. They were stymied, also, by Niko Kranjcar, who was out there in name only; the Croat was a bystander for much of it.

Celtic blew a huge chance before the break when terrific build-up play from Stuart Armstrong presented Sinclair with a golden opportunity, which he spurned. It was a sitter.

The feeling was that it was only a matter of time before Celtic ditched their profligacy and capitalised on all their possession. This fixture has a reputation for the bizarre - and here was another contribution. Rangers, instead of weakening, grew stronger. Celtic, instead of driving home their advantage, quickly found themselves on the back foot.

Rangers defender James Tavernier
Rangers defender James Tavernier's hitch-kick volley was tipped over by Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon

If the home side failed to make the most of their moments in the opening half, now it was Rangers' turn. The midfield battle that was such a one-sided affair early on now became a contest that Rangers started to win.

They carved out two outstanding chances. Sinclair was robbed of the ball and away the visitors went. If it wasn't for Gordon making a wonderful save from a close-range James Tavernier volley then the underdogs would have gone ahead.

That was a big moment, but there was an even bigger one to come. Tavernier went belting down the right and whipped in a gloriously inviting ball to Morelos, whose point-blank header was saved by Gordon. The goalkeeper was outstanding in frustrating the striker, but Morelos had to score there.

Dembele had taken his leave by then, a painfully slow retreat from the field from a player who has lost his way over the last year. Leigh Griffiths replaced him, but when the next opportunity arrived it was for Rangers again.

Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos's header saved by Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon
Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos had a header saved brilliantly by Craig Gordon

Once more, it was Tavernier's sumptuous delivery from out wide that created it. Morelos got himself between Celtic's centre-halves, and into space, with only Gordon to beat. His glancing header went wide.

Celtic, spooked and out-fought, looked highly vulnerable. Rangers had grown hugely. Defensively, they were sharp and aggressive in blocking everything that Celtic threw at them. In the closing minutes, Rangers manager Graeme Murty brought off Morelos and replaced him with Eduardo Herrera in an attempt to turn a fine result into a sensational one, but it wasn't to be.

Not many saw a draw in the offing. This was a day when Murty's stock rose after some awful recent defeats. He needed this boost to his credibility. He has now taken his side to Pittodrie, Easter Road, Murrayfield (for the Hearts game) and now Celtic Park and has claimed 10 points from a possible 12.

It might have been 12 out of 12 had Morelos been more accurate, but Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers will have similar cause to ponder his own side's missed chances in a derby they endured rather than enjoyed. Rangers, though, will get a lot more out of this than the champions.

Celtic striker Moussa Dembele
Celtic striker Moussa Dembele made a slow departure from the field when he was replaced by Leigh Griffiths

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 1Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 20Boyata
  • 35Ajer
  • 63TierneyBooked at 82mins
  • 8BrownBooked at 86mins
  • 42McGregor
  • 49Forrest
  • 14Armstrong
  • 11SinclairSubstituted forNtchamat 72'minutes
  • 10DembeleSubstituted forGriffithsat 61'minutesBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 5Simunovic
  • 6Bitton
  • 9Griffiths
  • 21Ntcham
  • 22Edouard
  • 24de Vries
  • 73Johnston

Rangers

  • 1Foderingham
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6WilsonBooked at 11mins
  • 22Bruno AlvesSubstituted forBatesat 18'minutesBooked at 60mins
  • 3John
  • 21Candeias
  • 23Holt
  • 40McCrorie
  • 19KranjcarBooked at 15minsSubstituted forPeñaat 80'minutes
  • 11Windass
  • 20MorelosSubstituted forHerreraat 89'minutes

Substitutes

  • 15Herrera
  • 17Hodson
  • 24Bates
  • 25Alnwick
  • 27Peña
  • 31Hardie
  • 35Barjonas
Referee:
Bobby Madden
Attendance:
59,004

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamRangers
Possession
Home56%
Away44%
Shots
Home11
Away8
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home7
Away4
Fouls
Home10
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 0, Rangers 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Celtic 0, Rangers 0.

Booking

Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Stuart Armstrong (Celtic).

David Bates (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Danny Wilson.

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Eduardo Herrera (Rangers).

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Eduardo Herrera replaces Alfredo Morelos.

Attempt saved. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt blocked. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Booking

Scott Brown (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic).

Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Kieran Tierney (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Daniel Candeias (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kieran Tierney (Celtic).

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Carlos Peña replaces Niko Kranjcar because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt blocked. Niko Kranjcar (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Dedryck Boyata (Celtic).

Niko Kranjcar (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Kieran Tierney (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jason Holt (Rangers).

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by David Bates.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Olivier Ntcham replaces Scott Sinclair.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Craig Gordon.

Attempt saved. Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) header from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal.

Niko Kranjcar (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Callum McGregor (Celtic).

Foul by Josh Windass (Rangers).

Mikael Lustig (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Mikael Lustig.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Ross McCrorie (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Scott Sinclair.

Attempt blocked. Josh Windass (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Leigh Griffiths replaces Moussa Dembele.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic22156148153351
2Aberdeen2213453324943
3Rangers22124641251640
4Hibernian229853127435
5Hearts227962119230
6Kilmarnock216872528-326
7St Johnstone217592130-926
8Motherwell2173112632-624
9Hamilton2165103034-423
10Dundee2264122332-922
11Partick Thistle2255121937-1820
12Ross County2245132136-1517
View full Scottish Premiership table

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