Australian superstar Tom Rogic scored and delivered a vintage display as Celtic – managed by fellow Australian Ange Postecoglou – beat bitter rivals Rangers 2-1 in a sensational Old Firm derby.
It was billed as one of the most decisive matches in the title race in a decade, and it lived up to all expectations in a pulsating 90 minutes marred only by glass bottles shattering on the pitch and delaying play after they were thrown by home fans at Rangers’ Ibrox stadium.
Having sealed back-to-back derby wins for the first time since 2018, Celtic now move six points clear of their rivals at the top of the Scottish league, just 12 months after they lost the league crown to their fellow Glasgow club by a whopping 25 points.
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A sloppy start from Celtic saw the hosts take the lead inside three minutes through former Arsenal and Juventus star Aaron Ramsey, who finished a sublime team move that caught the Hoops’ defence napping.
But Rogic levelled the scores just four minutes later in a frenzied atmosphere at Ibrox that was equalled only by the frenetic action on the park.
Callum McGregor beat two players before laying it off to Rogic, whose initial attempt was blocked. Reo Hatate’s follow-up pushed away by diving Rangers gloveman Allan McGregor, who could only parry it to a waiting Rogic. The Australian calmly sent the half-volley rifling into the roof of the net – the midfielder’s sixth goal in 17 appearances against his club’s Glasgow rivals.
Rogic was at the heart of everything for Celtic in the opening half, pulling the strings in attack with his creativity and breadth of passing as well as making a host of crucial interceptions and tackles.
And nearly made it a brace when he had the ball and rounded the McGregor after the keeper blocked a Daizen Maeda run, but Rogic’s shot was blocked by a retreating defender.
Celtic did take the lead on the brink of halftime when a wide free kick wasn’t cleared by Rangers, and Cameron Carter-Vickers slammed the ball hard and low into the net.
The second half was delayed for a handful of minutes when Celtic keeper Joe Hart went to retake the field, only to discover broken glass in his penalty area.
When the action did resume, Rangers increasingly began to dominate as Postecoglou’s Celtic battened down the hatches in a remarkable display of defensive resilience.
The hosts enjoyed the majority of possession – much of it in Celtic’s half – and lashed cross after cross into the box, but were repelled again and again by their rivals.
Both keepers were forced into some magnificent saves, but Celtic emerged victorious in a result that looks likely to ensure their title win, having now not lost in 25 league matches.
Rogic was taken off just after the hour mark as Postecoglou introduced fresh legs to steady the ship against the onslaught.
But his remarkable performance earned effusive praise from fans and pundits alike.