Saturday’s Old Firm derby against Celtic certainly did not get off to the start that Rangers manager Steven Gerrard would have hoped for.
The home side were far from their best against a resilient Celtic side, who looked the far more likely in the opening 45 minutes.
Rangers needed Allan McGregor to be at his brilliant best as he produced a couple of stunning saves in the opening 45 to keep the scores level at half time.
Ianis Hagi’s place in the team was one of the major talking points ahead of the game and after Kemar Roofe’s first-half struggles, the Romanian came on in his place for the second half.
Nir Bitton was sent off for the visitors after bringing down Alfredo Morelos following a brilliant pass down the line for James Tavernier.
Shortly after, Rangers took the lead after a near-post flick-on from Joe Aribo helped the ball onto Callum McGregor and into the back of the Celtic net to give the hosts the lead and the win.
Here are the Ibrox News ratings for Rangers v Celtic:
Allan McGregor – 8
Called into action early on with a good effort from Odsonne Edouard and he did brilliantly to get down so quickly. Produced a stunning diving save to his right from Leigh Griffiths in the first half. Kept Rangers in the game in crucial moments.
James Tavernier – 7
Didn’t have the easiest of afternoons up against Diego Laxalt, but did well to limit the crossing opportunities for the Celtic left-back. Tavernier did his best to give Rangers an out ball down the right and it was his stunning pass down the wing resulted in Bitton being sent off.
His corner for the opening goal was Tavernier at his brilliant best.
Connor Goldson – 6
Despite Rangers’ ropey moments at the back, Goldson kept Edouard reasonably quiet and forced the visitors to shoot from distance.
Leon Balogun – 5
Looked very ropey and not at all convincing during the first half, leaving some fans particularly worried. Nearly gifted Celtic an opener with a poor clearance in the opening minutes. Improved as the second half went on with a well-timed block from an Edouard shot.
Borna Barisic – 6
Tried to find a bit of success down the left wing but it did not result in much success.
Steven Davis – 5
Suffered from Celtic’s fast start and was often overran in midfield as a result of the Hoops’ diamond in the middle of the park. David Turnbull had clearly been given the task of limiting Davis’ time on the ball and he did just that, with Davis booked for a silly foul on Ajer late in the first half.
Glen Kamara – 5
Allowed Ryan Christie a little too much space in the first half and could not really impact the game.
Joe Aribo – 6
Aribo was uncharacteristically poor in possession and the gave the ball away all too easily. Looked off the pace generally. Like many of his team-mates, much improved in the second half and it was his flick-on that saw the ball striker McGregor before finding the back of the net to give Rangers the lead.
Ryan Kent – 6
Squashed any suggestions that he might be tired or jaded with a few bursting runs early on and always looked to get past Frimpong. He was lacking a little in end product, but the attacking intent was certainly there.
Kemar Roofe – 4
Non-existent for much of the first half as Rangers really struggled to bring him into the game. It did not come as a huge shock to see him replaced at half time.
Alfredo Morelos – 4
Morelos was lucky to not be booked in the opening minutes after a nasty-looking lunge on Frimpong. He might feel lucky he was not the one going off at half time – simply did not offer enough for Rangers in the final third.
Ianis Hagi – 6
Started brightly off the bench with an effort on goal just minutes after coming off the bench. Should have scored from the resulting free-kick that came from Bitton’s red card.
Cedric Itten – N/A
Bongani Zungu – N/A
Brandon Barker – N/A
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