Five things we learned from Celtic's win over Rangers
Celtic eased to a 2-0 victory over Rangers at Ibrox on Saturday - but just what can we take away from the game?
Here's a look at the now traditional five things we learned.
1. CELTIC SUPERIOR
Celtic are already eight points ahead of Rangers after just seven games and are odds-on to clinch yet another Ladbrokes Premiership title. Rangers failed to beat their traditional rivals in six attempts last season and the defeat at Ibrox looks ominous for the campaign ahead. The Parkhead squad is markedly superior to the players Pedro Caixinha — or any other manager in the league — has assembled and that situation does not look as if it will change any time soon.
2. FIT FOR PURPOSE
One feature of Celtic under Brendan Rodgers is that the Parkhead side finish games strongly. Not only are they better than their opponents in Scotland they also seem fitter. Once the treble-winners had taken the lead through Rogic they stepped up the gears. Afterwards Rodgers said: “I thought our conditioning and quality of our players came through. Once we got the first goal we weren’t disappointed not to score more but we did make more chances”, and it is those qualities which will help take the Hoops to another title.
3. RIVALRY STILL STRONG
Amid the chanting and singing, some of it questionable in its sentiments, the game was delayed after Rogic had opened the scoring when a flare was thrown into the Rangers penalty area from behind the goal where Hoops fans sat. Ibrox stewards then had to work hard to contain some Gers fans after Celtic players celebrated Griffiths’ goal in front of them. And to add to the off-field shenanigans, Caixinha and Scott Brown were involved in a spat as the players went up the tunnel at the interval with the Ibrox manager claiming the Celtic skipper had used an elbow in a challenge on Gers striker Alfredo Morelos.
4. GRIFFITHS DESPERATE TO KEEP MAIN STRIKER’S ROLE
Griffiths was preferred up front to Moussa Dembele, who has just recovered from a hamstring injury. The 21-year-old French striker was first choice for Rodgers for most of last season until he picked up another injury. Griffiths finished the campaign in confident mood, scoring six goals in seven games for club and country — including a brace in the 2-2 draw with England at Hampden — to take his season tally to 20. His goal at Ibrox takes him to seven for the season so far and he, and many Hoops fans, will believe it is now up to Dembele, who replaced him as a late substitute, to fight his way back into the starting line-up.
5. ROSS McCRORIE UNCOVERED
One positive Rangers can take from another defeat by Celtic is that teenager Ross McCrorie made an encouraging first start in a Light Blue jersey. The 19-year-old defender had replaced the injured Bruno Alves against Partick Thistle at Firhill on Tuesday night and stayed in the side when the experienced Portuguese failed to recover. He was up against Griffiths and, although the Scotland striker eventually came out on top in that battle with a goal, McCrorie can be pleased with his performance.
Belfast Telegraph Digital