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 Saturday, 7 December, 2002, 12:24 GMT
Gers win Old Firm thriller
Michael Mols scores Rangers' third goal
Michael Mols scores Rangers' third goal
Rangers 3-2 Celtic

Rangers overcame the setback of conceding the quickest goal ever in an Old Firm derby to edge out Celtic in a thrilling derby.

Just 19 seconds were on the clock when Chris Sutton put Celtic ahead, but Rangers hit back through Craig Moore, Ronald de Boer and Michael Mols.

John Hartson's goal brought Celtic back into the game but Rangers held on to overtake their Glasgow rivals at the top of the table.

Celtic got off to a sensational start when Chris Sutton gave them a quick-fire lead.

Didier Agathe laid the ball off for Hartson on the 18 yard-line and the Welshman surged past Lorenzo Amoruso into the Rangers box.

His cutback was met by Sutton who directed his shot over Stefan Klos into the net.

Rangers should have equalised in the sixth minute when Celtic defenders stayed deep in their own box allowing Shota Arveladze space to collect a Barry Ferguson nod forward.

Neill Lennon tackles Rangers captain Barry Ferguson
Neill Lennon tackles Rangers' Barry Ferguson
With Rab Douglas helpless Arveladze brought the ball down on his chest and swivelled to shoot from three yards but pulled his shot wide when it looked easier to score.

Rangers drew level after 10 minutes when Craig Moore outjumped Douglas to head home Fernando Ricksen's inswinging corner.

Rangers were let off the hook when Neill McCann tracked back to win the ball from Didier Agathe but took it into his own box and, under pressure, could only give the ball to Stilian Petrov on the edge of the box.

The Bulgarian's mis-hit effort from 18 yards was met by Hartson who prodded the ball past Klos but the ball came off the inside of the post before rolling along the line and out for a goal kick.

But it was Rangers who took the lead after 34 minutes.

Neill McCann skipped past Joos Valgaeren and Bobo Balde before sending a delicate chip into the danger zone which Ronald de Boer met and sent high past Douglas.

Hartson's point-blank header was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Klos before the Ibrox men went further ahead.

Ricksen's powerful run from midfield took him past three Celtic players.

Arveladze got a foot to the Dutchman's through pass and the loose ball was pounced on by Mols who stabbed the ball under the advancing Douglas.

Celtic started the second half strongly and substitute Alan Thompson's cross from the left was nearly deflected in by Moore but Arthur Numan hooked the ball off the line.

Celtic's Stilian Petrov fights for possession
Celtic's Stilian Petrov fights for possession
Then Thompson's left-foot shot from the edge of the box was superbly touched over the bar by Klos.

But after a period of concerted pressure Hartson eventually reduced the deficit on the hour mark.

He played a clever one-two with Larsson in the Rangers box and stroked the ball low past Klos.

Amoruso was unfortunate not to restore Rangers two goal lead six minutes later when his swerving 35-yard strike beat Douglas but came back off the upright.

As both teams tired in the final third of the game, half-chances came and went.

The final few minutes were frantic and Klos had to punch a Petrov corner away from Hartson.

A Rangers counter attack saw substitute Peter Lovenkrands bustle his way into the box but his final ball just eluded Caniggia at the far post.

But that was the final chance of the match and Rangers held on to take the three points.


Rangers: Klos, Ross (Malcolm 21), Moore, Amoruso, Numan, Ricksen, Ferguson, McCann, de Boer, Mols (Caniggia 84), Arveladze (Lovenkrands 65).

Subs Not Used: McGregor, Hughes.

Booked: Ferguson, McCann.

Celtic: Douglas, Valgaeren, Balde, Laursen, Agathe, Lennon, Sutton, Petrov, Guppy (Thompson 53), Larsson, Hartson.

Subs Not Used: Gould, Lambert, Maloney, Crainey.

Booked: Hartson, Balde, Lennon.

Attendance: 49,874

Referee: K Clark

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 Rangers boss Alex McLeish
"It's very tight between the two of us"
 Celtic boss Martin O'Neill
"The goals we let in were poor"
The SPL season gets under way

Weekend games

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