Sunday, April 15, 2018 14:30
Glasgow G42 9BA, United Kingdom
Homeground of Scotland
Celtic vs Rangers 0 - 0
Sunday, December 31, 2017 Celtic Park
The Old Firm derby between Celtic and Rangers is always a massive game in the footballing calendar, with interest from all around the world. The two giants of Scottish football renewed their fierce rivalry at Celtic Park on Saturday 30 December in the Scottish Premiership. Celtic were the pre-match favourites, having had the upper hand over their Glasgow rivals in recent years (following Rangers drop down the divisions) and of course by having home advantage on their side.
Celtic kicked off, in their famous green and white hoops, in front of a crowd of 59,000 noisy and expectant fans. Despite winning the first corner of the match, the first real chance of the game fell to Rangers after Mikael Lustig lost possession in the middle of the park. The Rangers midfielder Josh Windass, played the ball through to Alfredo Morelos, but the Colombian forward saw his shot well saved by Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon.
Celtic then created some great chances of their own. The first came from a free-kick awarded to them following a foul by Danny Wilson, culminating in the first yellow card of the match. The ball was played long into the box and a goalmouth scramble ensued, forcing Rangers goalkeeper Wes Foderingham into a fingertip save around the corner. James Forrest saw his shot deflected just wide of the post for a corner, then the Rangers 'keeper made a fine double save to keep the scores level.
On 18 minutes, Rangers' task seemed to become more difficult when their Portuguese international defender Bruno Alves went off injured. He was replaced by David Bates who, to his credit, went on to have a very good game. After such a frenetic start the game settled down, with Celtic winning the midfield battle and having the best of the first half. Goal-scoring chances were few and far between for both sides at this point however. Then, at the very end of the first half, a golden opportunity was squandered when Celtic's Scott Sinclair missed the target from 10 yards out.
Spectators might have expected Celtic to push on after the half-time break, but in fact it was the 'Gers' who started strongly, with a shot from James Tavernier being tipped over the bar early on. Brendan Rogers rang the changes for the 'Bhoys' after 60 minutes in an effort to find the elusive goal. The highly regarded French striker Moussa Dembele had failed to live up to his reputation and was replaced by Scotland's Leigh Griffiths. Meanwhile, another big name player, the veteran Croatian international Niko Kranjcar was not having a great game for Rangers and was probably fortunate to remain on the pitch for as long as he did, finally departing at 80 minutes.
Midway, through the second half, an impressive run down the right hand side by Tavernier led to a lovely cross that Morelos headed towards goal, only for Gordon to pull off a great reaction save. Rangers were probably edging it at this point and Morelos had another chance to score a winner later in the half, but this time failed to direct his header and the chance was gone. Celtic pressed hard in the final moments but, with Rangers holding firm, they were unable to find a winning goal.
The game finished goalless, although this didn't really do the match justice. Rangers fought hard and fully deserved their point but both teams missed good chances. A draw was a fair result in the end and ensured that Celtic maintained an 11 point advantage over their neighbourhood rivals in the Scottish Premiership.