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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 October 2007, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
Rangers 3-0 Celtic
By Thomas McGuigan

Nacho Novo
Nacho Novo opened the scoring with a header
Rangers overpowered Celtic to record a deserved victory in the first Old Firm game of the season.

The home side were the more convincing side throughout and took the lead through Nacho Novo's 23rd minute header from Alan Hutton's cross.

Celtic striker Scott McDonald was an isolated figure up front as Gordon Strachan's side lacked a cutting edge.

Barry Ferguson added the second 10 minutes after the break and Novo sealed the win with a late penalty.

Goalkeeper Allan McGregor and full-back Hutton were in the starting line-up for the home team despite both being forced to withdraw from Scotland duty.

Walter Smith made three changes from the side beaten by Hibernian as Lee McCulloch, Novo and Daniel Cousin came in for Steven Whittaker, Brahim Hemdani and Kris Boyd.

Celtic were boosted by Scott Brown's quick recovery from a hamstring injury, while Gary Caldwell was also back in action to shore up the defence.

Gordon Strachan brought Darren O'Dea, Evander Sno and Jiri Jarosik in for Paul Hartley, Aiden McGeady and Chris Killen.

The opening quarter of the game was peppered by stoppages as fouls prevented both sides from establishing any fluency.

Barry Ferguson is mobbed by his team-mates
Rangers captain Barry Ferguson got the second goal

Rangers appeared the hungrier side and were winning most of the 50-50 challenges in the middle of the park.

McDonald pounced on Novo's misplaced pass on the edge of the area after 23 minutes, but his shot was well saved by McGregor.

Novo gave Rangers the lead after 28 minutes when he headed home Hutton's cross from the right-hand side after Caldwell inexplicably elected to leave the ball rather than clear.

The Spaniard failed to double Rangers' lead moments later when he scooped the ball over the bar after neat build-up play by Charlie Adam.

Jarosik stung McGregor's palms with a rasping drive five minutes before the break in a rare foray forward for an insipid Celtic side.

The visitors were forced to change their personnel just before half-time when Celtic captain Stephen McManus was injured during a clash of heads with Cousin.

Ferguson doubled Rangers' lead from just inside the box when Nakamura lost possession and Hutton's cross dropped for Ferguson and he fired home.

McGeady was introduced for Shunsuke Nakamura as Celtic searched for a goal.

Donati went close with a header with 15 minutes to go, but his effort was well saved by McGregor.

Novo added a third from the penalty spot after 78 minutes.

Sno, who endured a miserable day, felled Adam in the box and Novo grabbed his second of the game in what proved a one-sided encounter.

  • Video highlights of the Old Firm game at Ibrox will be available on the BBC Sport Scotland website from 1800 BST on Sunday 21 October.


    Rangers: McGregor, Hutton, Cuellar, Weir, Papac, McCulloch, Ferguson, Thomson, Adam, Cousin, Novo. Subs: Carroll, Faye, Naismith, Beasley, Whittaker, Lennon, Emslie.

    Goals: Novo 27, 77 (pen). Ferguson 55

    Booked: McGregor, Hutton.

    Celtic: Boruc, O'Dea, Caldwell, McManus, Naylor, Nakamura, Donati, Scott Brown, Sno, Jarosik, McDonald. Subs: Mark Brown, Riordan, Kennedy, O'Brien, McGeady, Cuthbert, Bjarnason.

    Booked: Boruc, O'Dea, Kennedy, Naylor, McGeady, Donati, Brown, Jarosik, McDonald.

    Referee: M McCurry

    Att: 50,428



    SEE ALSO
    Ferguson says Celts still on top
    20 Oct 07 |  Rangers


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