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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 February 2006, 14:20 GMT
Rangers 0-1 Celtic
Maciej Zurawski is congratulated by his delighted team-mates
League leaders Celtic extended their advantage over Rangers to 21 points with a narrow victory at Ibrox.

The visitors capitalised on a bright start to take the lead after 12 minutes when Maciej Zurawski's shot on the turn beat Ronald Waterreus.

Rangers gradually clawed their way back into the game, with Celtic managing to soak up the pressure.

It meant Alex McLeish's last Old Firm game at Ibrox ended in a tame defeat to a less than scintillating Celtic side.

Yves Colleu, the long-time assistant of Paul Le Guen, the favourite to take over from McLeish, was in the crowd for the game but he is unlikely to have been overly impressed by what he saw.

Gordon Strachan's side settled into their rhythm much quicker than their opponents, who looked understandably nervous given their recent form.

Indeed, the league leaders scored with their first attempt on Waterreus' goal, partly as a result of woeful defending from Rangers.

Marvin Andrews and Sotirios Kyrgiakos got in each other's way as they challenged John Hartson for a high ball and though Bob Malcolm's challenge prevented Stilian Petrov getting a shot in, the ball fell to Zurawski who struck it sweetly past Waterreus.

Celtic enjoyed near total dominance of the opening quarter, but Rangers finally started to get a hold of the ball, with Chris Burke providing the impetus.

Alex McLeish and his management team watch on grimly
Alex McLeish and his management team watch on grimly

They should have drawn level when Thomas Buffel beat first Paul Telfer and then Bobo Balde only to then try unsuccessfully to play in Nacho Novo when a shot on goal looked the wiser option.

Kyrgiakos was again guilty of erratic behaviour when he scythed down Hartson before diving as the Welshman berated him for the challenge. Referee Mike McCurry settled for a word in the ear of both players.

Rangers were afforded plenty of possession at the beginning of the second half, but a lack of penetration meant Celtic were rarely stretched.

Kyrgiakos almost redeemed himself after Roy Keane was booked for a foul on Dado Prso, but his header from the resultant free kick flew just wide.

Balde thought he had extended Celtic's lead as he back-heeled the ball into the net, but the referee ruled that he had fouled Waterreus.

Rangers passed up another excellent opportunity late in the game when Boruc saved from close range from Andrews and when the ball fell to Prso he failed to find a colleague with his cutback.


Rangers: Waterreus, Hutton, Andrews, Kyrgiakos (Rodriguez 66), Smith, Burke, Malcolm, Ferguson, Buffel (Kris Boyd 72), Novo (Lovenkrands 61), Prso.

Subs Not Used: Klos, Hemdani, Murray, Namouchi.

Booked: Prso, Kyrgiakos, Kris Boyd.

Celtic: Boruc, Telfer, Balde, McManus, Wilson, Petrov, Keane, Lennon, Maloney (Pearson 89), Zurawski, Hartson (Dublin 74).

Subs Not Used: Marshall, Thompson, Nakamura, Wallace, McGlinchey.

Booked: Keane.

Goal: Zurawski 12.

Att: 49,788

Ref: M McCurry


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Rangers boss Alex McLeish


Interview: Celtic manager Gordon Strachan



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