This was one of those tricky fixtures. Rangers had nothing to lose. They were the underdogs that achieved a creditable draw at Parkhead in the last Old Firm fixture and around the same time last year they’d come to Hampden and won on penalties against a supposedly superior Celtic team. Fling in Celtic’s Hampden hoodoo. But if you want to talk sense and watched the game then you’ll know. Celtic were a better team that dominated the match from start to finish and made Rangers look like a bunch of schoolboys on a day out and playing on a big pitch for the first time. A 2—0 skelping flattered Rangers.
After Ross County referees were under the spotlight. Andy Halliday’s tackle on Patrick Roberts was assault and a red card. He copped yellow. The referee, Willie Column, has a sense of humour. He warned him he would have to play the full game, but his manager hooked him at half-time, and brought on another Dodoo.
Celtic had a corner in under a minute. A free header by Dembele and a chance to score. After Dembele’s introduction to the Old Firm game with a hat trick this looked like more of the same. He sets up McGregor’s first nipping in behind a statuesque Ranger’s defence and laying off the ball. It was quickly passed into the net. But 1—0 is one of those score lines that can bite you in the arse. For a few minutes when Dembele went off injured and Celtic brought on the guy that scored 40 goals last season, Leigh Griffiths, Rangers were allowed to keep the ball. But they kept shuttling it backwards.
Roberts lays it off, Leigh Griffiths nipped in behind the Ranger’s defence. James Tavenier gets a toe, not to the ball, but to Griffith’s foot. Penalty. Rangers best spell of football, approximately two minutes was finished. Game over. Rangers did get a shot on goal eventually, a Kenny Miller header, but when Celtic have the best keeper in Scottish football it was nothing he couldn’t handle. Nothing Celtic couldn’t handle.
I’d have given Patrick Roberts man on the match. He was gallus from start to finish. Or the much maligned Calum McGregor, who was simply outstanding. It went to Scott Brown, who should have been suspended. Ah, well, good news for Rangers, he won’t be playing on Saturday at Ibrox. Celtic’s bench is so top-heavy with good players that doesn’t really matter. If Celtic had a B team there’s a very good chance Celtic A and Celtic B would be contesting the Scottish cup final. As it is, all Ranger’s supporters will be backing their old Aberdeen buddies on cup final day. The treble looks odd on. But if Aberdeen get lucky, you never know. Rangers weren’t unlucky here, just shite. Plain and simple. They can’t blame the Magic Hat for that.