Rangers came into the first Old Firm of the season with huge expectations but fell flat as Celtic looked the better side in all areas.
it was supposed to be a triumphant announcement of Rangers’ intentions to take the league, instead, it was Celtic putting their foot down to prove that they are still the team to beat in the Scottish Premiership.
While to say that Celtic dominated the match would be an overstatement, Rangers had lots of possession and Celtic’s second goal came at the very end as Rangers gambled to try and find the equalizer, but Celtic was definitely the stronger side.
The match was fairly back and forth, with Celtic looking more comfortable until Celtic got the games opening goal from Edouard. Connor Goldson made a soft pass that was intercepted (something that many Rangers players did with far too much regularity in the game) and Edouard got essentially one on one with Allan Mcgregor and he comfortably slotted it into the net in the 32nd minute.
At that point, Rangers did manage to get back into some comfort zone, but they were chasing the rest of the match. Despite Rangers having plenty of possession and occasionally having solid build-up, Celtic looked totally comfortable to play defense, press Rangers midfield, and look for their moment to strike.
Steven Gerrard brought on both Alfredo Morelos and Jordan Jones in the second half, who both had good showings (although Jones got a well deserved red-card at the end of the match for a bad tackle) and it does make one wonder why they were not in the starting side. Gerrard also brought on Sheyi Ojo at halftime, who showed his talent in some dangerous moves, but also showed his lack of polish as he lost the ball in some key moments.
One of the biggest surprises is that Rangers had issues from areas that have usually been rock-solid for them. Steven Gerrard decided to change up tactically into a style that didn’t work at all. James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, and Ryan Jack were all off of their games.
On the one hand, this makes me feel a little bit better because you can count on those guys performing better in the future. On the other hand, it is disappointing to see some of your best performers fall flat in such a big game.
The loss shouldn’t be seen as too disastrous, on another day Rangers can certainly still compete with Celtic and there’s a lot of season still left, but this was a disappointment that they must improve from.