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Sunday, 25 November, 2001, 14:21 GMT
Celtic edge Old Firm derby
Henrik Larsson shields the ball from Barry Ferguson
Henrik Larsson shields the ball from Barry Ferguson
Celtic 2-1 Rangers

Celtic went ten points clear at the top of the SPL with a fortunate win over their arch-rivals.

Goals from Joos Valgaeren and Henrik Larsson were enough to give the Parkhead side three valuable points.

Celtic started the game with John Hartson partnering Henrik Larsson up front, with Chris Sutton absent as his baby son recovers from illness in hospital.

Rangers manager Dick Advocaat opted to drop Fernando Ricksen from his squad altogther following his midweek dismissal against Paris Saint-Germain - although there was a suggestion that the former AZ Alkmaar player had picked up a knock.

Celtic's Bobby Petta and Maurice Ross of Rangers
Bobby Petta holds off Maurice Ross
Rangers settled quickly, with Fernando Ricksen's replacement, Maurice Ross, coming close early on, but Douglas saved comfortably.

Moments later, Stefan Klos needed to be alert to save Larsson's long-range effort, before Lubo Moravcik joined Michael Ball in the referee's book for a reckless tackle on Shota Arveladze.

Tore Andre Flo hit the post after 19 minutes following a slick threaded pass from Arveladze.

Point-blank

Rangers continued to take the game to Celtic, and were almost rewarded on the half-hour mark when Douglas saved a point-blank effort from Ronald de Boer.

Arthur Numan had spotted the run of De Boer and found him in the box, but the Celtic keeper was quick off his line to save the Dutchman's shot.

Moments later,the former Dundee keeper saved weak efforts from Barry Ferguson and Flo before Lorenzo Amoruso blasted a free-kick well wide of the post.

Celtic's Neil Lennon stops de Boer in his tracks
Celtic's Neil Lennon stops de Boer in his tracks
Celtic almost took the lead two minutes into the second half, but Ross' saving challenge prevented Balde from connecting cleanly from two yards out.

Larsson broke forward moments later, but pulled his effort wide.

The Parkhead side took the lead after 57 minutes when Joos Valgaeren followed up on a Balde knockdown.

The Belgian international stretched to beat Numan to the ball, sending it past the stranded German keeper.

The goal came against the run of play, as the Celtic defence struggled to cope with the movement of the Rangers midfield.

Celtic were awarded a penalty after 70 minutes, when Bert Konterman barged Henrik Larsson. The Swede dispatched the spot-kick to claim his 14th goal of the season.

Controversy

Rangers manager Dick Advocaat was embroiled in controversy as he brought on Peter Lovenkrands in a last effort to get back into the game.

Michael Ball reacted angrily to being taken off, provoking an equally volatile reaction from Advocaat before Rangers backroom staff intervened.

Rangers pulled a goal back five minutes later when Caniggia and Lovenkrands combined well, resulting in the young Dane scoring from close range.

As Rangers pushed for an equaliser De Boer was unlucky not to score when his effort from the edge of the box was deflected off Amoruso and out for a goal-kick.


Celtic: Douglas, Balde, Mjallby, Valgaeren, Petrov, Lennon, Lambert, Moravcik, Petta, Hartson, Larsson.

Subs: Gould, McNamara, Maloney, Thompson, Crainey.

Rangers: Klos, Ross, Amoruso, Konterman, Ball, Reyna, de Boer, Ferguson, Numan, Flo, Arveladze.

Subs: Christiansen, Caniggia, Dodds, Wilson, Lovenkrands.

Referee: S Dougal

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Roddy Forsyth
"Celtic have made a habit of winning on these occasions"
Celtic boss Martin O'Neill
"It was a long last fifteen minutes"
Rangers boss Dick Advocaat
"We played some excellent football"
Links to more Scot Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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