As usual I was drunk by halftime, blootered by fulltime. We debated who would start, before I fell off the chair. Hatate would go back into midfield where he is more effective. Of course, he was lauded as a great right back—he’s a great player—but he just can’t defend. A bit like Josip Juranovic when he came on at left back after 21 minutes. Greg Taylor had started well. He usually does. I used to slate him, the same way I did Starfelt and Forrest. The latter was a surprise starter. Any more performances like this and it will be a surprise he gets a start.
Alistair Johnson slotted in at right back and looked assured. But then when he looked up to pick a pass, he’d Forrest in front of him and brought the ball back. More punters backed Celtic to win than the fat Columbian to lose some weight. Morelos played a great pass to Daizen Maeda. The Japanese forward zipped through the Rangers’ backline and scored like a World Cup hero. A goal up inside five minutes.
For much of the first half Celtic played football. Rangers reverted to long-ball, kick and rush tactics that had worked in the past. With Starfelt in the Celtic team, they’ve always got a chance. Most of the goals we lose come from free-kicks and corners. Rangers in the first-half, despite being unable to play three concurrent passes had three chances.
Joe Hart was culpable. He dithered on the ball. The fat man blocked his clearance with the ball coming off the post before being scrambled away. Then the fat Columbian had benefited from poor marking, Starfelt and then Juranovic found wanting, as he headed two great chances over the bar from just outside the six-yard box. The fat Columbian also found time to heckle Greg Taylor before he went off injured. Perhaps he was just saying, I hope Postecoglou brings on Juranovic, who had a shocker, and not Bernabei. The little Argentinian has actually played at left back. He’s very impressive going forward, but has that usual Celtic foible of being unable to defend.
Half-time, we were one up. Just after half-time, it was 1—1. Juranovic was found wanting. The ball was shuttled to the left and Ryan Kent bent it into the top corner in the way Jota used to.
The Rangers penalty followed a few minutes later. Starfelt dived in on Fashion Sakala. Pundit, and paid Celtic hater, Kris Boyd, said he wasn’t sure if it was a penalty. Sakala seemed to be standing on Starfelt’s trailing leg. He had pulled out of the tackle. James Tavenier dispatched the penalty like a player that gets practice taking them every match day.
The Celtic non-penalty. Call it soft. Call it what you like. 99% of pundits called it as a penalty including Kris Boyd. The VAR referee had a look. Match referee, decided not to have a look at Connor Goldson’s handball in the box.
Postecoglou made his usual changes to the team. Forrest coming off for Liel Abada was a no-brainer. As always, Maeda could be pleased with his work rate. He’d went past Tavenier a few times in the first half. One ball in particular was just crying to get stuck away, but with no takers as Celtic’s first-half dominance wasn’t converted into goals. Jota added guile.
Giakoumakis for O’Riley gave us a big front man. O’Riley is a class player, but he went missing for large chunks of this game. Not good enough.
Hatate for Mooy, was one good player, replacing another. Mooy’s two goals and man-of- the match performance against Hibs was not enough to get him a start. Mooy and Jota helped create the equaliser.
Mooy found Giakoumakis inside the Rangers’ box. His flick coming off Scott Wright. Kyogo, who was largely anonymous, popped up to score the equaliser in 87 minutes. That sobered up the Ibrox horde. We remain nine points clear with eighteen games to play.
Pass marks for Carter-Vickers, Johnson, McGregor, Hatate and Maeda.
Found wanting, Hart, O’Reily and Kyogo (despite his goal, which kind of excuses him).
Shockers, Starfelt, Juranovic, Forrest.
A kick in the balls for Bernabei. Here’s hoping Kobyashi comes into the team and Startfelt drops out. Jenz not even on the bench. The beauty of a loan deal is it’s a try before you buy. I don’t think we’ll be buying him. Sead Haksabanvonic is a class player that missed out on the derby. He’ll come back into the team, sooner, rather than later.