Rangers deny Celtic title party after stormy win

25 March 2012 03:46

Ten-man Rangers put their financial worries to one side as they defeated Celtic 3-2 to deny their rivals, who had two players and manager Neil Lennon sent to the stands, a title party at Ibrox on Sunday.

Celtic could have clinched the championship with a win but it was Rangers, boosted by the return of several players, that showed more desire to delay any celebrations.

After a period of sustained pressure Sone Aluko put Rangers ahead in the 11th minute with a superb solo goal before Cha Du-Ri saw red in the 29th minute for hauling down Lee Wallace on the edge of the box.

Lennon was sent to the stands during the break for a tirade against the officials and was soon joined by Victor Wanyama, who was shown a straight red for a two-footed challenge on Steven Whittaker in the 57th minute.

Substitute Andrew Little scored within seconds of coming on in the 72nd minute before Wallace added a third in the 77th minute.

Scott Brown pulled one back from the spot in the 88th minute after Carlos Bocanegra was sent off for bringing down Georgios Samaras and Thomas Rogne headed in another two minutes into stoppage time.

Celtic remain 18 points clear of their rivals and could still clinch the title at Parkhead next Sunday.

At Ibrox, the Rangers players, spurred on by a vociferous home support, penned Celtic in their own half in the opening stages and their pressure paid off in the 11th minute when a superb solo effort from Aluko gave Rangers the lead.

A quickly taken free-kick was played to the Nigerian international just inside the Celtic half and he put the ball through Thomas Rogne's legs before making a darting run at the retreating defence and slotting low past Forster.

Almost immediately Celtic had a chance of their own when Georgios Samaras burst into the box at pace but Allan McGregor was equal to his shot before tipping Anthony Stokes' follow-up effort over the bar.

Aluko was causing the Celtic defence all sorts of problems and set Wallace up for a shot just inside the box but he sent his first time effort sailing over.

The same pair combined in the 29th minute as Aluko sent Wallace galloping down the inside left channel only for Cha to crudely halt him on the edge of the box; a challenge that earned the South Korean a straight red card.

He was joined in the stands by Kenyan international Wanyama, who was shown a straight red in the 57th minute for a crude two-footed challenge on Whittaker.

Little replaced the injured Aluko in the 72nd minute and within a matter of seconds he had made it 2-0.

Kyle Lafferty's initial shot was saved by Forster but his Northern Ireland team-mate was there to slot the rebound home from close range.

Rangers had their third just five minutes later when a quick break saw Celtic stretched at the back and Davis played in Wallace who smashed an angled shot under the helpless keeper.

In the 88th minute Celtic pulled one back from the penalty spot through Brown after Bocanegra was shown a red for bringing down Samaras in the box.

Rogne added a second two minutes into stoppage time as he headed a free-kick past McGregor but Rangers held on for the win.

Source: AFP