Griff on form to give Bren Old Firm win
IT has been a week that Wayne Rooney will want to forget.
But one that Everton fans will want to remember after they ended their run of four defeats and a 461-minute goal drought!
And it was Oumar Niasse, the striker they have shunned, who turned it all around after being introduced in place of England’s record goalscorer.
He struck twice in the last 13 minutes to lift his team out of the bottom three and ease the pressure on Ronald Koeman.
The Senegal forward has been a flop since arriving on Merseyside in a £13.5million deal from Lokomotiv Moscow more than 18 months ago under former chief Roberto Martinez.
But his current boss admitted he will find it difficult to leave him out of the line-up.
Koeman said: “He’s bringing at least more aggression, we needed to have another striker and he’s really direct.
“It’s all about opportunities for players and if we talk about strikers he came on last Wednesday and scored, he came on in the second half today and scored two goals. He’s one of the players who can turn it around. He’s not surprised me, I know him and last season was a totally different situation because of Lukaku. You will be very foolish not to consider him.”
Bournemouth skipper Simon Francis was fortunate to avoid any punishment after elbowing Rooney, who left the pitch with blood streaming from a nasty gash just above his left eye.
Rooney protested furiously at referee Martin Atkinson while being patched up on the touchline and was pulled away and directed towards the tunnel by Koeman having been taken off on 55 minutes.
It was his replacement who made the decisive impact after Everton had fallen behind when Josh King fired through Ashley Williams’ legs, deceiving the unsighted Jordan Pickford.
Moments later, the Toffees stopper denied Jermain Defoe the chance to seal the result before substitute Tom Davies played in Niasse to convert his first with 13 minutes left.
And the misfit striker doubled his tally five minutes later as he bundled home after a goal-mouth scramble.
Cherries manager Eddie Howe said: “There were several moments when we could have got that important second goal.
“We tried to hold on but you can’t change your philosophy, you just have to do what you always do and I thought we looked like we were heading to win that game.” CELTIC once again underlined their Old Firm superiority by cruising to a comfortable victory over fierce rivals Rangers.
Brendan Rodgers’ team were frustrated for 45 minutes but their class shone through in the second half.
Tom Rogic and Leigh Griffiths scored to establish an eight-point gap between the two sides after just seven games.
Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha vowed he had learned lessons from last May’s 5-1 rout but the Light Blues were fortunate not to concede inside a minute when Wes Foderingham tipped over an attempt from Rogic.
Griffiths spurned a couple of chances while Patrick Roberts was thwarted by Foderingham as the hosts rode their luck a little.
And the Ibrox faithful erupted with screams for a penalty when Alfredo Morelos and Jozo Simunovic came together in the area but referee Craig Thomson waved away the appeals.
It took just five minutes after the break for Celtic to break the deadlock as Ross McCrorie, deputising for the injured Bruno Alves – and Fabio Cardoso got in each other’s way before Lee Hodson swiped at fresh air, allowing Australian Rogic to unleash an emphatic finish.
Gers almost produced an instant reply when Morelos was denied by Craig Gordon at point-blank range.
And there was no coming back when Griffiths latched on to an inch-perfect pass from Roberts and slotted a right-foot shot into the bottom corner.
Stuart Armstrong and Kieran Tierney came close to extending the lead as the Hoops dominated the latter stages, but the hosts were relieved to hear the final whistle with no further damage done.
IMPACT: Substitute Niasse keeps his cool to net the equaliser ■ OPENER: Josh King gave the away side the lead in the second half ■
RELIEF: A second from Niasse completes the late comeback