The Old Firm returned in the Scottish League Cup final on Sunday, with the Glasgow rivals Celtic and Rangers facing-off for the second time this season. The previous encounter back in first of September in Scottish Premier League finished with Celtic on top at Ibrox Stadium with 0-2 victory. Since then the teams have gone side by side in the Scottish Premiership and only the last round saw Celtic climb alone on top with a late win over Hamilton, while Rangers were all tied at Aberdeen. The Old Firm final was highly awaited fixture and it was just as close as in the heyday of the rivalry. Celtic eventually prevailed 0-1 but Rangers have nothing to be ashamed of – their performance could’ve been enough to win in any given day.
Rangers came into the game with a fierce determination and the underdogs were the more active and dangerous side in the first half. Rangers managed to threaten Fraser Forster’s goal for five occasions in the first half alone, while Celtic Allan McGregor completely unemployed for the first 45. The first half saw no goals and the tension was seemingly building up towards the second half.
Despite being mostly in the defensive, Celtic took the lead in 61st minute. Ryan Christie delivered a long range free-kick into the box, where central back Christopher Jullien was left unmarked and the Frenchman tipped the ball into the net. Only some two minutes later the action went the other way. Rangers leading goal-scorer Alfredo Morelos was about to break loose from Celtic defender Jeremie Frimpong inside the box, and the youngster had no choice but to take down the surging Colombian. Frimpong was given a sending off for a professional foul and Morelos and the Rangers awarded a penalty to tie the game. Celtic keeper Fraser Forster rose to the occasion and saved the lousy penalty sent by Morelos and gifted his team the victory. The Rangers kept on the pressure, but Celtic were as solid as ever defensively and allowed no clear cut chances for the remainder of the game.
Rangers might feel harshly done after the narrow defeat, but the manager Steven Gerrard was not too disheartened by the defeat – Rangers showed they are fully capable of challenging Celtic for the domestic title already this season. Both teams return to action in Scottish Premiership on Sunday the 15th, with Rangers visiting Motherwell and Celtic hosting Hibernian. Don’t miss out on Dafabet’s Celtic FC prediction challenge and a chance to win weekly free bets!