Celtic 3-0 Rangers

Last updated : 03 January 2004 By Kevin Smith
Celtic moved eleven points clear at the top of the SPL today, with a rampant 3-0 victory over Rangers. Goals from Stan Petrov, Stan Varga and a sweet free kick by Alan Thompson provided the goals, and all but secured the destiny of the League flag this season!

In a game where Celtic barely got out of second gear, it was also Rangers' last hope of any title this season. As expected, they threw all they had at us, which in truth, was not alot. Celtic now set a new league record - we are unbeaten in our last 18 league games, and our last 67 at Parkhead.

Celtic started the game with a strong side, Rab Douglas keeping his place in goals, Varga, Balde and McNamara made up the defence. Didier Agathe returned from injury and joined Neil Lennon, Stan Petrov, Alan Thompson and Chris Sutton in midfield. It seemed to be an off day for Henrik and Big John up-front but their presence was felt.

The atmosphere before the match was electric. A spine-tingling version of You'll Never Walk Alone was too good for the huns' boring scarf wiggling. Just under 60,000 were packed into Paradise.

As expected, it was a fast and furious start to the game. It was clear that Celtic were out to stop 'Circus Boy' Lovenkrands on the wing, and soak in whatever pressure was applied to us. Celtic are a very hard side to beat using these tactics, as we simply pick teams off on the break.

Stefan Klos was called into the action after 15 minutes, when a flurry of Celtic corners resulted in a Bobo Balde effort, which forced a magnificent save by the German.

Henrik Larsson was not looking his normal self, and should have been through on the keeper, but his touch let him down at the crucial moment.

It seemed only a matter of time before Celtic scored, and the goal came on just 19 minutes. An Alan Thompson corner was knocked on by Larsson, and Petrov headed towards goal. The ball looked over the net as it bounced off the post, and the relief when the referee blew for a goal was unbelievable.

Rangers' only retaliation in the first half was a teasing cross by the Caravan man Chris Burke, which Rab Douglas failed to take.

Just before half time, Didier Agathe went on a wild run down the right-hand side, Alan Thompson was inches close with his headed attempt.

Rangers began the second half in a now or never sort of way. This was their season in 45 minutes, but their keeping of the ball done little to scare the Celtic defence.

Craig Moore showed today that he is an animal. The guy should not be allowed on a football park or anywhere near it. He should certainly have been send off after a series of fouls and blatant kicks at Celtic players. Moore was made to pay for his thuggery though, he was to blame for the initial set piece which resulted in Celtic's second goal.

A pathetic trip on Henrik Larsson gave Celtic a free-kick, which Alan Thompson swung in to the box. Larsson caught it with a neat flick, but the ball was deflected away for a corner. Thommo again crossed a deep ball and Stan Varga was there to head home.

It was party time inside Celtic Park now, 'Jingle Bells,' 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' and the old favourite, 'Championees,' were being rammed down the throats of the reprobates in the corner of the Lisbon Lions stand.

Rangers again hit us with everything, and all they had was a twist from Mols which went wide of Douglas' post.

The sweetest moment of the day, though, was still to come.  Lovenkrands made a muppet of himself by giving away a free-kick at the edge of the Rangers area, and Alan Thompson hit the most perfect of shots into the top corner of the net.  'Go Home Ya Huns!'

It's made it a Happy New Year for all, and we were treated to some hun-humour for the rest of the day.  God only knows what kind of drugs the huns were taking, but for them not to realise how stupid they look doing the 'Bouncy Bouncy Bouncy' - never mind when 3-0 down in an Old Firm game, when the league title is slipping away from them, is unreal.  Still, 'We Are The People' is always good for a laugh!

It would now take a massive slip up from Celtic to lose the league, Martin O'Neill simply won't let that happen.  Have a good one Bhoys and Ghirls: crack open the champagne and enjoy the good times!

Hail Hail!

Douglas - 7
Balde - 9
Varga - 9
McNamara - 8
Agathe - 7
Petrov - 7
Thompson - 9
Lennon - 9
Sutton - 8
Hartson - 6 (Miller - 7)
Larsson - 6

Celtic-Mad Man of the Match:  Stan Varga