There are not many great things you can say about Scotland. The weather is atrocious, the accent is indecipherable, and for some unknown reason, they have made their national dish the meat of a sheep no one wants in the lining of its stomach. Yet for all these weird quirks and setbacks the only reason the rest of the UK puts up with them is for the Old Firm.
It’s quite impressive what Rangers have been able to do since their birth in 2012. The old club by the same name vanished forever and is now a fond nostalgic memory of what Scottish football used to be.
It’s always been a two-horse race, yet for a couple years, we misplaced one of the horses. However, we finally have an Old Firm to look forward to. A potential season-defining match, if Rangers triumph, their chance to win the Scottish Premiership for the first time is back alive. If Celtic win, well, then we lose one of those horses again for another year.
Rangers came out of the gate flying before they’d even reached the first hurdle, Josh Windass smashed home the opening goal after Dedryck Boyata decided it was appropriate to do his best Efe Ambrose Impression. Finally, a game with a bit of oomph. I had grown accustomed to watching Celtic destroy a Rangers team with secret double agent Pedro Caixinha at the helm. He would usually be screaming something entertaining on the touchline like: “you must first seduce the goose before you can make love with the penguin”. Anyway, my nostalgic memories are throwing me on a tangent.
Celtic responded with an absolute cracker of a strike from the man down under, Tom Rogic. The Aussie born hoops player did his best: “that’s not a goal, this is a goal” impression, outdoing the hard work Rangers had done to take the lead.
Rangers once again capitalised from the ‘Carry On’ which was Celtic’s defence. The ironically Catholic sounding Declan John’s cross somehow managed to find Daniel Candeias before making its way into the back of the net. Just as it seemed Rangers would go into the break with a well-deserved lead, Scott Brown’s long through ball to the third best Dembele in the world (after the other Moussa and Ousmane) found its way into the back of the net. In the process of chipping Wes Foderingham, Dembele took away any dignity/respect the former Swindon Town keeper had.
The second half started how the last good Old Firm game in 2012 finished, with big tackles and even bigger stare-offs. Yet the occasion got a bit too much for a select few, especially Jozo Simunovic who decided to his best Marouane Fellaini impression, accidentally whacking Morelos in the money maker. This lead to sleeper agent Tory MP Douglas Ross, who just happens to be the linesman to scream red card at the top of his lungs. They say trying to protect the union is a full-time job.
Despite going down to 10-men, the introduction of soon to be released PSG loanee Edouard led to an instant reply from Celtic. Edouard took advantage of Rangers high press to go one on one with Sean Goss before cutting inside, and for the third time in the match, Foderingham was looking around for his dignity while picking the ball out of the net. Alfredo Morelos had the chance to equalise just before the end however, he saw the headlines on the back pages before he shot and smashed it onto the post and then into the grateful hands of Scott Bain. A miss just as bad as his hairstyle.
And that’s how it ended, Rangers spent the rest of the time giving the ball away while trying to salvage a draw. Although this game highlights the advancements Rangers have made just a few years after their conception, we are still a long way from getting the famous Old Firm back. For now, we will just have to watch a bunch of League One rejects run around the pitch chasing the bright coloured ball.