Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rangers come out on top of Old Firm

Against all odds, the Rangers defeated Celtic 1-0 to take a two point lead in the SPL race with three weeks remaining in the campaign. The result was as outstanding as the comeback in which Celtic appeared to be sailing clear in the early spring. Given the split schedule the Scottish Premier League uses the Gers remaining schedule is far from an easy one but they are definitely in the pole position to end Celtic three year hold on the crown.

The only significant change to the lineup was Kenny Miller's return to the starting eleven with Lithuanian international Andrius Velička pushed to the bench. The addition of Scottish international to the fold proved vital as his attacking pulse showed early on and ultimately it was his cross that led to Stephen Davis plunking in the winner eight minutes before the break.

To the surprise of many the pacing of the Old Firm derby stepped away from the expected plow like approach and was decidedly up-tempo. With both sides choosing to "win" the match, opportunities began to emerge with Shunsuke Nakamura forcing the best out of by Gers 'keeper Neil Alexander. Moments later a Steven Whittaker attempt rang off the post and the back and forth pace continued until seven minutes past the half-hour when Kris Boyd's provision to Kenny Miller resulted in fine cross being sent pass Celtic's Artur Boruc by Steven Davis. Prior to the break Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink came within a whisper of equalizing the match however Steven Davis proved to be up to the task on the other end as he cleared the former PSV man's header off the line. After the break Kris Boyd's misfortune in the Old Firm as he was unable to close the day out on two separate occasions yet Celtic equally were denied by a morsel of fate. As the match turned to this final quarter-hour Aiden McGeady beaded down on the leveler but his effort rattled the woodwork before falling to safety. Without further the mark concluded with Rangers victorious and head towards Hibernian on Wednesday with the championship before them.