05292017

Rangers strike late to salvage Old Firm draw

Rangers' Clint Hill fires the equaliser against Celtic

Clint Hill scored Rangers’ equaliser at Celtic Park

Clint Hill’s late equaliser denied runaway Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic a fourth victory of the season over city rivals Rangers.

Rangers, with caretaker Graeme Murty in charge for the last time and new manager Pedro Caixinha in the stand, started the game impressively.

But Stuart Armstrong fired Celtic into a first-half lead.

Both sides had chances before Hill prodded in with three minutes left to deny Celtic an 18th straight win.

Another win would have made it 23 in succession in the league for Brendan Rodgers’ side, but Rangers become the first side to deny them victory since Manchester City in a Champions League game in December.

And, with Aberdeen having beaten Motherwell on Saturday, third-placed Rangers are eight points adrift of the Dons, who themselves are 25 behind the champions.

Armstrong imperious

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Celtic scorer Stuart Armstrong – Draw feels like a loss

Armstrong’s goal – his 11th of the season – was a combination of resourcefulness and power.

Jason Holt contributed to Celtic’s opening, since he clumsily failed to clear with his weaker left foot, but when the ball was worked to Armstrong on the edge of the area, it was not a clear scoring opportunity.

He has been dismissing expectations all season though – and, after turning towards goal, he rifled a low, hard shot into the near corner of the net.

More illustrious players – Moussa Dembele, Scott Sinclair, Scott Brown – have hogged attention for Celtic this season, but Armstrong has purposefully and, with growing assurance, built a growing reputation.

Rodgers urged him to play at a higher tempo, to understand the need to forage and hustle as well as being accomplished on the ball.

Armstrong responded and he has become an integral figure for Celtic – and likely a fixture now in the Scotland squad.

He might have scored at other moments in the game, with his first-half free-kick tipped on to the upright by the diving Wes Foderingham and the goalkeeper pushing away two fiercely struck efforts after the break.

Rangers rely on organisation

Rangers caretaker Graeme Murty celebrates<!–

Graeme Murty ends his spell as caretaker manager with three wins, one draw and two defeats

The visitors did not have an individual player to match the calibre of Celtic’s various potential match-winners – and the Rangers bench contained only one player, Josh Windass, who has impressed this season.

Yet their positional discipline and work-rate was designed to limit Celtic and provide the means for Rangers to try to be proactive.

The shape was 4-4-1-1 when Rangers were without the ball, as Kenny Miller dropped off the front to close down Nir Bitton, Celtic’s holding midfielder.

James Tavernier tucked into a central midfield role when Rangers had possession, allowing Miller to join Waghorn and the ineffectual Barrie McKay up front.

With passing angles closed down and a disciplined press, Rangers earned a foothold in the game.

It also delivered a breakthrough when Miller flicked a high ball on to Waghorn, who was left one-on-one with Gordon.

The striker was not clinical enough, though, and the Scotland goalkeeper saved with his legs.

The scoreline was 0-0 at the time and there was a key moment after the break also.

Having been caught by Gordon as the goalkeeper punched a cross clear, Waghorn was left upfield unmarked as he recovered.

When a counter-attack broke upfield, Waghorn found himself onside and in the penalty area, but Gordon blocked his first-time shot.

Rangers’ perseverance pays off

New Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha at Celtic Park<!–

Pedro Caixinha applauded his new side from the stand

Celtic have been more dominant in games this season, but they would have felt that their command of the scoreline was enough in this game.

Dembele, who was otherwise unusually quiet, almost scored late on, but his left-foot effort flashed across the face of goal.

The closing stages, though, were mostly about Rangers pushing and probing for an equaliser.

That told of their determination, and Holt caused a flash of alarm for the home side when his curled effort bounced just wide.

The pressure eventually paid off, though, when Hill was the first to react after Gordon pushed Hyndman’s shot away and the defender turned the ball into the net at the back post.

The drama was not over though as, moments later, Leigh Griffiths felt he should have been awarded a penalty under a Hill challenge inside the area and then had a shot headed off the line.

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 1, Rangers 1.

Second Half ends, Celtic 1, Rangers 1.

Attempt blocked. Callum McGregor (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Hand ball by Josh Windass (Rangers).

Moussa Dembele (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Danny Wilson (Rangers).

Hand ball by Michael O’Halloran (Rangers).

Foul by Leigh Griffiths (Celtic).

James Tavernier (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Goal! Celtic 1, Rangers 1. Clint Hill (Rangers) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Emerson Hyndman (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner.

Substitution, Rangers. Michael O’Halloran replaces Martyn Waghorn.

Craig Gordon (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Harry Forrester (Rangers).

Substitution, Rangers. Harry Forrester replaces Jason Holt.

Mikael Lustig (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

Attempt missed. Jason Holt (Rangers) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Attempt missed. James Tavernier (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.

Scott Brown (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Martyn Waghorn (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution, Celtic. Leigh Griffiths replaces Stuart Armstrong.

Attempt saved. Martyn Waghorn (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Erik Sviatchenko.

Scott Sinclair (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Lee Hodson (Rangers).

Substitution, Celtic. Patrick Roberts replaces James Forrest.

Attempt saved. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

Foul by Moussa Dembele (Celtic).

Lee Hodson (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Moussa Dembele (Celtic).

Lee Hodson (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Rangers. Josh Windass replaces Barrie McKay.

Kieran Tierney (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James Tavernier (Rangers).

Attempt saved. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Wes Foderingham.

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