Ruthless Hoops dish out derby humiliation
CELTIC dished out one last humiliation to hapless Rangers as this rout took them to within five games of an unbeaten domestic campaign. The away fans lapped up every moment of this season’s sixth and final duel as Brendan Rodgers’ undefeated troops outclassed a feeble Rangers line-up from start to finish.
Early goals from Scott Sinclair and Leigh Griffiths robbed the hosts of any belief they had left before Callum McGregor, Dedryck Boyata and Mikael Lustig’s second-half strikes handed Celtic their biggest ever Ibrox win. Kenny Miller’s late reply was no consolation.
While Rangers’ hopes of finishing second are all but gone, their old rivals now need only negotiate their final four league games and the Scottish Cup final against Aberdeen to complete a loss-free league season and historic treble.
Despite Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha adding the attacking intent of Josh Windass and Joe Dodoo and the defensive experience of veteran Clint Hill to his team, there was no real resistance.
Such were the confidence levels among the away supporters, they even cheered as the home team was read out.
Rangers needed to avoid going behind early, but they lasted just seven minutes before conceding. Myles Beerman was again starting at left-back for Caixinha’s team but the 18-year-old’s inexperience showed as he needlessly dived in on Patrick Roberts inside the box. Sinclair sent Wes Foderingham the wrong way from the spot.
Things would only get worse for Rangers as they found it impossible to stop their rivals flooding forward. While the hosts’ passing was erratic, Celtic’s exchanges seemed laser-guided.
And they struck again after 18 minutes. Stuart Armstrong robbed Emerson Hyndman in midfield before spraying the ball to Griffiths, with the striker ripping a sensational drive past Foderingham.
That Rangers reached the interval just two goals down seemed a minor miracle. Caixinha looked to stiffen up his midfield by swapping the anonymous Dodoo for Andy Halliday.
But the tide continued to flow in one direction and it took Celtic just six minutes from the restart to stretch their lead. Rangers surrendered possession and McGregor made them pay as he netted through James Tavernier’s legs from 12 yards out. And when Boyata was allowed to jump unchecked from a Griffiths free-kick on 66 minutes, that was the cue for the Rangers faithful to head for the exits.
Miller did beat Gordon with 10 minutes left after swapping passes with Joe Garner, but even then Celtic did not relent and Lustig wrapped up Celtic’s second five-goal derby display of the season.