Celtic take massive step towards title with win over ten-man Rangers

The sides met for the final Old Firm game of the league season in Parkhead on Saturday.

Celtic have taken a massive step towards the Premiership title with a 2-1 win over ten-man Rangers in Parkhead.

The win puts the champions six points clear with only two games remaining in their quest for three in a row despite a nervy end in the east-end of Glasgow.

They now have one hand on the trophy and only need a single point in their remaining fixtures, against Kilmarnock and St Mirren, to guarantee another title.

Even if they lose their next two games it would go down to goal-difference and they currently hold a seven goal advantage in that category.

There was three goals in quick succession in the first-half when Matt O’Riley and a John Lundstram own goal put Celtic 2-0 up but Cyriel Dessers got Rangers back in it to make it 2-1.

Rangers were then reduced to ten-men at the end of the half when Lundstram was sent off for a late tackle after a VAR check.

Referee Willie Collum originally booked the midfielder but was called over the monitor to review the decision before upgrading the yellow card to a red and give the away team a mountain to climb in the second-half.

The home side nearly took an early lead when Forrest skipped by Borna Barisic with barely a minute on the clock and cut it into the danger area before it rebounded off John Souttar and against Jack Butland before it was scrambled away.

It was a frantic opening ten minutes with Celtic on the front foot and Forrest tried his luck from distance before O’Riley came close from a free-kick.

Fabio Silva had a good chance to put Rangers ahead but he fired just wide of Joe Hart’s goal from an awkward angle.

Butland was the hero for Rangers on the half-hour mark when he produced a brilliant save to deny Kyogo the opener from eight yards when it looked as though the Celtic forward would score.

But Celtic were ahead soon after when O’Riley collected a pass from McGregor at the edge of the area before taking a touch and firing it past Butland to make it 1-0.

And they doubled their lead just a couple of minutes later when Lundstram turned a cross from Daizen Maeda into his net and it was 2-0.

But just 30 seconds after the restart Rangers got themselves back in it when Dessers fired a header past Hart from close ranger to make it 2-1.

Lundtsram’s day went from bad to worse when he was shown a red-card for late challenge on Alistair Johnston just before half-time and the visitors were reduced to ten-men.

Celtic were awarded a penalty at the start of the secon-half when Collum pointed to the spot after a challenge from Diomande on O’Riley in the box.

The referee was called to the monitor again for a review but decided to stick with his original decision to award the spot-kick.

O’Riley stepped up but his effort was well saved by Butland to keep the score-line at 2-1 and the ten men Rangers in the game.

Maeda then had the ball in the net on the hour-mark but he had strayed offside and the goal was ruled out to give the visitors another lifeline.

Celtic were dominant in the second-half as Rangers struggled to get out of their own half- but while the score remained at 2-1 they always had a fighting chance of getting that all important equaliser.

Ross McCausland and Silva both had half-chances to get their side level with around 20 minutes to go but neither materialised.

Nicolas Kuhn had a good chance not long after coming on for Forrest but his shot was deflected wide for a corner kick.

Rangers started to get more and more in the ascendency in the last 15 minutes despite being a man down as they pushed for an equaliser and put the Celtic defence under a bit of pressure.

Celtic also had chances to seal with Adam Idah having a couple of good opportunities to put the game to bed and Maeda had the ball in the net with two minutes remaining but he had strayed offside again and the assistant referee put his flag up to rule the goal out.

Seven minutes were added on in after the 90 as Rangers looked for an equaliser that would save their league season.

Idah had a chance to seal it in injury-time but he put his shot just wide of Butland’s post on the 92nd minute of action.

But despite a nervy finish they managed to hold on for the three points that all-but guarantees the Premiership title will be remaining at Celtic Park.

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