Rangers Emboy Gerrard’s Spirit To Beat Lacklustre Celtic

Steven Gerrard as a footballer was known to give his all for his team’s cause. He was a player that showed plenty of commitment, desire and would always provide an attacking edge.

Today Steven Gerrard the manager watched on from the sidelines as Rangers managed to beat a Brendan Rodgers led Celtic for the first team in thirteen attempts and they did so by battling for every ball, controlling the game’s tempo and having more desire that their opponents!

In truth, the Gers display resembled that of an inspirational Gerrard playing performance. They wanted the win more and that eventually got them over the line.

It was pretty fitting that it was the Rangers number eight, Ryan Jack, that would seal victory with the only goal of the game.

The Scotland midfielder managed to stay calm and place his shot between the legs of Celtic captain Scott Brown and beyond opposition goalkeeper Craig Gordon. Special praise should be noted for winger Ryan Kent. The Liverpool loanee did well to evade a desperate challenge from Mikael Lustig and expertly cut the ball back into Jack’s path.

Ross McCrorie, Daniel Candieas and Scott Arfield were always willing to dig in and make challenges, they also didn’t hide from the occasion as certain Gers players have done in the past. Kent on the left wing, had the directness and the tricks that gave the home side the much needed creativity they needed.

Defensively, that was the best I’ve seen from club captain James Tavernier and Andy Halliday. Both full-backs stuck to their tasks diligently. Connor Goldson and Joe Worrall made important tackles when needed and made sure Celtic’s forwards knew they were there.

Rangers bossed the encounter; boasting more possession and creating more chances at goal. On the other hand The Hoops were as lethargic as Rangers were in the first derby game of the season.

For the first time, in a very long time, the home side actually won the all important midfield battle. That provided the catalyst needed for the win.

Every Gers player worked their socks off and they managed to see the game out. In the process they managed to keep the Scottish Premiership champions on the back foot.

Celtic’s leaders and top players just did’t turn up.

Scott Brown usually finds extra energy in this game and he leads by example but he couldn’t seem to win enough tackles, keep hold of the ball or keep up with the pace that Gerrard’s men were setting. He played on reputation and that wasn’t enough this time.

Olivier Ntcham was a standout player the last time these two teams met, but the usually classy operator just couldn’t find a way to get onto the ball and dictate things in Celtic’s favour.

If you offered Rodgers £6m tomorrow for Dedryck Boyata, I’m betting he’d bite your hand off. The Belgian defender has an unfortunate habit of switching off during big games and he did it again a few times today. I’d also suggest that the Celtic boss should be on the lookout for a new right-back.

The Mikey Johnston experiment didn’t work. The youngster seemed to be deployed as a false number nine but he didn’t have the experience needed to excel in that role in such a big game.

The lack of centre-forward options at Parkhead was fully exposed today. They’ve been linked heavily with a loan (Via Sky Sports) move for PSG young hitman Timothy Weah and they must be hoping they can get that one over the line.

Today’s result will send the Rangers fans into the new year with an extra bounce in their step. It could also allow Steven Gerrard to ask for more transfer funds for when the window reopens in January. The Govan side will end 2018 joint top with Celtic and the Gers manager will believe that if he can bring in the right players then he could end Celtic’s domestic stranglehold.

Celtic shouldn’t be too depressed as they head into 2019. Yes they were beaten today and the performance wasn’t great but they have the know-how when it comes to winning trophies and they’re still in Europe! Rodgers could use this display as a way of getting more money from his board as they try to secure eight titles in a row.

What today does do, is give Scotland hope. Hope that we could have a battle for the league title. Kilmarnock can’t be discounted from the race, as they’ve probably had the best calendar year in our top flight and have been keeping up with the Glasgow duo all season.

Here’s to a fascinating 2019!

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