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Sunday, April 12, 1998 Published at 19:46 GMT 20:46 UK

Sport: Football

Rangers on a roll
image: [ Jorg Albertz, who was at the centre of everything for Rangers, made it 2-0 in the 66th minute ]
Jorg Albertz, who was at the centre of everything for Rangers, made it 2-0 in the 66th minute

Rangers are on top of the Scottish Premier division after beating Celtic 2-0 at Ibrox Park.

The sides are equal on points, but Rangers have a better goal difference - 36 goals to 35.

It was a day of high pleasure for Rangers manager Walter Smith who was in charge for his last Old Firm derby.

[ image: Rangers boss Walter Smith...wants to go out on a high]
Rangers boss Walter Smith...wants to go out on a high
Celtic must be sick of playing their Glasgow neighbours. Only last week, Rangers put Celtic out of the Scottish Cup. On that occasion, it was Jorg Albertz who scored the winner, and it was his 66th minute strike on Sunday which broke Celtic hearts again.

With only four games remaining, there is no doubt Rangers are on a roll. This was their sixth successive victory, leaving them in pole position to claim a record 10th successive title.

Old Firm passion

The opening quarter was fast and furious with little pattern emerging. Celtic had most of the territorial advantage but were unable to make any impression on goal. The heavy rain made it hard to control and pass the ball.

Then in the 25th minute, Rangers launched a free kick into the box. It was easily headed clear by the Celtic defence. But the bouncing ball sat up nicely for Jonas Thern who volleyed from thirty yards into the top left hand corner of the net - Celtic's keeper Jonathan Gould saw the ball too late.

[ image: Rangers are on top on goal difference]
Rangers are on top on goal difference
From that point, the game settled and both sides were able to apply some meaningful pressure. Celtic should have drawn level when Henrik Larsson put Paul Lambert through on goal. However, with only keeper Andy Goram to beat, the number 10 drew the ball onto his left foot and fired the ball just a fraction wide of the post.

Rangers could have made it 2-0 right on half time when Richard Gough found space in the box to head a floated free kick towards goal. He managed to put enough power behind the ball, but it went straight into the arms of Gould.

Strong running

Celtic came out for the second half determined to pull back the deficit. Within five minutes Alan Stubbs had the perfect opportunity to level the score when he had a double header at a corner, but Andy Goram produced the save of the match to tip the ball over the bar.

A few moments later, Paul Lambert really should have scored for Celtic. He dribbled the ball into the six-yard area, past three Rangers defenders, only to chip the ball across the face of the goal.

It was a costly miss because Rangers were soon 2-0 in front thanks to a brilliant, individual effort from Jorg Albertz. He ran 20 yards, brushed off two challenges, and shot low into the right corner of the net.

The teams:

Rangers: Goram, Cleland, Albertz, Gough, Amoruso, Bjorklund, Thern, McCoist, Durie, McCall, Laudrup. Subs: Durrant, Gattuso, Negri.

Celtic: Gould, Boyd, Annoni, Donnelly, Rieper, Stubbs, Larsson, Burley, Jackson, Lambert, O'Donnell. Subs: Hannah, Brattbakk, McKinlay.

Referee: H Dallas (Motherwell)


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