SPL - Celtic cruise to Old Firm triumph

Sun, 29 Apr 14:45:00 2012

Celtic heaped more misery on their Glasgow neighbours Rangers, barely breaking a sweat on their way to a 3-0 Scottish Premier League victory at Celtic Park.

Kris Commons - 0

Goals from Charlie Mulgrew, Kris Commons and Gary Hooper gave Celtic revenge for their 3-2 defeat at Ibrox a month earlier and secured bragging rights in the last Old Firm derby of the season.

Commons shone throughout, having a vital part to play in all three goals.  Working in between the Rangers midfield and defence, the visitors had no answer to his creativity. He was ably supported by the enterprising Emilio Izaguirre, whose marauding runs down the left were a constant threat.

Although the home side were clinical in front of goal the visitors were woeful at the back and all three goals were down to individual errors in the Rangers defence.

By half-time the game looked to be sewn up as Mulgrew and Commons sent the home side into the break with a two-goal cushion.

Rangers made life difficult for themselves on 17 minutes when no one tracked Mulgrew's run at the back post from Commons's corner. Unmarked, he guided a free header past Allan McGregor.

Just 14 minutes later Hooper found space on the right and squared for Commons, who dodged a rash challenge from Kyle Bartley to find himself through on goal. As McGregor approached, he coolly lifted the ball over him and into the net.

There was no response from Ally McCoist's side and a few hopeful efforts from outside the box were about the best that Rangers had to offer in the first period.

With a drastic improvement needed in the second half, Rangers were almost gifted a lifeline when Fraser Forster dropped a cross from Maurice Edu, but there were no blue shirts around to take advantage.

On 54 minutes they self-destructed again as Hooper put the game beyond doubt. Rhys McCabe dawdled on the ball in midfield and Commons stole possession, playing the ball to Georgios Samaras who slipped it into the path of Hooper. The striker's finish was emphatic, leaving McGregor with no chance.

Jamie Ness and Salim Kerkar both entered the fray as McCoist tried to turn the tide. Kerkar immediately had a chance but shot over while Ness struggled to make his mark on the game.

The home side comfortably navigated the remaining minutes with Rangers short on ideas, quality and most worryingly, desire. That leaves the two Glasgow giants with two wins a piece in Old Firm victories this year.

With Rangers' financial future still uncertain no one is sure whether there will be another derby next season, but if this was to be the last game between the two for a while, it was a disappointing note to end on for the Ibrox club.

In the other game of the day, 10-man St Mirren edged out struggling Hibernian with a 1-0 victory at Greenhill Road.

Kenny McLean grabbed the only goal of the game in the 65th minute and, despite Marc McAusland's red card, the hosts took all three points.

The result leaves Hibernian three points above bottom-placed Dunfermline, while St Mirren consolidate ninth spot.

Rory McClenaghan / Eurosport

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