Ruthless Rangers pile more misery on Celtic to send rivals out of Scottish Cup

The Light Blues wrested the Premiership title back from their Old Firm rivals for the first time in a decade
Ruthless Rangers pile more misery on Celtic to send rivals out of Scottish Cup

By Ronnie Esplin, PA

Ruthless Rangers piled more misery on Celtic with a 2-0 Scottish Cup fourth-round win at Ibrox.

The Light Blues wrested the Premiership title back from their Old Firm rivals for the first time in a decade this season and ensured the cup would also be leaving Parkhead for the first time in five years.

Midfielder Steven Davis gave the home side the lead in the 10th minute with an improvised finish before Parkhead full-back Jonjoe Kenny put through his own goal in the 33rd minute under pressure from Gers attacker Ryan Kent.

Interim Celtic boss John Kennedy’s side missed a series of chances including a 79th-minute penalty which Gers keeper Allan McGregor, in another terrific performance, saved from Hoops striker Odsonne Edouard.

Steven Gerrard’s men, now unbeaten in the last five Glasgow derbies, host St Johnstone in the quarter-finals looking to march on to a league and cup double, while Celtic have to regroup this summer.

The tie had been pushed back to Sunday due to Saturday’s funeral of Britain's Prince Philip and there was a period of silence before the game started.

Rangers skipper James Tavernier, out for two months with a knee injury, could only find a place on the bench as Kemar Roofe made way for midfielder Scott Arfield.

Celtic winger James Forrest, who picked up a back and hamstring niggle last week against Falkirk, was out altogether, replaced by Ryan Christie while left-back Diego Laxalt came in for benched Greg Taylor.

Celtic probably edged the opening minutes before Rangers took the lead.

Kent started the attack by leaving Parkhead skipper Scott Brown in his wake in the middle of the park before Celtic defender Stephen Welsh brought him down.

Referee Bobby Madden played on with Joe Aribo driving into the box and when his drive struck Hoops defender Kris Ajer and looped into the air, Davis’ acrobatic strike from six yards beat keeper Scott Bain.

Celtic furiously fought back with efforts from striker Edouard, Christie and Callum McGregor and as the visitors kept up the pressure Welsh, from five yards out, somehow redirected a cross from David Turnbull away from goal before Ajer’s drive was blocked by Gers defender Filip Helander on the line.

Back came Rangers but with more end product.

Aribo beat Laxalt on the right flank before firing the ball to the near post where Kenny, on loan from Everton, turned it past Bain in an attempt at preventing Kent applying the finishing touch.

Celtic, with Taylor on for Laxalt, started the second half at top speed and McGregor was quickly involved, tipping a Turnbull drive past the post for a corner which was defended.

In the 57th minute Celtic had the chance to reduce the deficit when McGregor parried a drive from Mohamed Elyounoussi into the path of Edouard but the striker’s effort from six yards sailed over the bar.

Moments later, after Gers full-back Nathan Patterson passed straight to Edouard, the Frenchman set up in Elyounoussi but McGregor was out quickly to smother the shot with Edouard’s effort from the loose ball cleared to safety.

At the other end, Bain beat away a 20-yard drive from Kent and then blocked Alfredo Morelos’ shot from the rebound.

Scotland striker Leigh Griffiths replaced Christie in the 72nd minute and when he was pushed inside the box by Aribo, referee Madden pointed to the spot.

Edouard stepped forward but his shot was saved by McGregor who dived to his right with the Rangers defence clearing the loose ball to safety, the incident summing up the day.

Minutes later, a fantastic challenge by Taylor prevented Aribo tapping in from a yard out but it will be Celtic who will be rueing a series of missed opportunities as they survey a trophy-less season.

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