"I think we have better players than Celtic and, with lots of confidence, we can win this championship,they play good football. But still, I think we are the better team."
Those were the words that came back to haunt Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic on the morning of the Glasgow Derby. A few hours later his side were getting booed off the field by their own supporters as Celtic celebrated a 3-0 demolition of their arch rivals. Thanks to two goals from Gary Hooper and another goal from Kris Commons.
The result leaves Rangers eight points behind Celtic, and even with their two games in hand Celtic are still top of the table. It was also Celtic's 14th league win in a row and their 17th in all competitions.
The better side, as Jelavic called them, were posted missing throughout. There was no guts, no battling, no heart in the Rangers side. Oh how the blue hordes were hurting.
Celtic, though, made Jelavic eat his own words and showed who was the better side. There were no HONEST mistakes, there was no controversial decisions, it was a pure game conducted by a Celtic side resurgent under manager Neil Lennon in his first full season as Celtic manager.
The stadium as bouncing before the match, Celtic fans could sense something special could happen. Rangers fans well, they conducted another hate-filled bigot session as they belted out The Billy Boys and The Famine Song. They even had time to sing bile and sickening chants at the tribute to murdered Celtic fan Reamonn Gormley. And as the first half kicked off that was the last time you would hear them. For the next 90 minutes Celtic were dominant on the park as well as off it, and I had the pleasure to be in the stands cheering on the Bhoys.
And a scene you will NEVER see in any stadium across the Europe, let alone this country. Over 50,000 fans doing a mass huddle in the stands! Yes, I am not kidding, I am not lying, I am not exaggerating, 50,000 Celtic fans were doing a mass huddle in the stands after Celtic's third goal went in. It was a moment in history, a moment that signified who was the better side, and the fans revelled in it. [Check out the video from 0.50 seconds onwards]
The opening minutes of the game were hectic as both sides aimed to close down the other, with the midfield packed and no side having the upper hand.
Within minutes though Rangers had their first booking of the match. Scott Brown burst through the middle, only to be brought down by a shockingly bad tackle by Kyle Bartley making his Old Firm debut for Rangers.
Celtic began to get more into the game after some initial Rangers possession, as they looked more threatening.
And on the 17th minute the deadlock was broken. Striker Gary Hooper latched onto a pass from Kris Commons, leaving David Weir flat-footed with his first touch and fired the ball between Allan McGregor’s legs to give Celtic the lead. Sending the Celtic fans into dream mode, and a rendition of 'I Just Can't Get Enough' as total strangers hugged one another, fists pumping at the Rangers fans, amongst other hand gestures.
Celtic continued to dominate play as they looked to double their lead, however Rangers finally had their first shot of the game at the Celtic goal soon after, but striker Nikica Jelavic fired over the bar from outside the box.
Ten minutes later Celtic doubled their lead. Samaras slid the ball to Emilio Izaguirre running full pelt down the left-wing, who picked out Hooper at the back post at full stretch to steer the ball home. Despite vain claims from the Rangers defence of offside, the goal stood with replays showing that Izaguirre was onside.
January signing Kris Commons then had a chance to give Celtic a 3-0 lead but after Ledley set him up on the edge of the area, the former Derby player could not connect with the ball cleanly and he dragged his effort wide.
For the rest of the half, Celtic were content to stay at 2-0, as Rangers had more possession but failed to do anything with it. Except for some poor efforts from Steven Naismith and Nikica Jelavic from distance.
In the Second Half, Rangers came out looking for a way back into the match and they nearly did so. Steven Davis crossed in from the right and Jelavic headed unopposed, but he could not direct it towards goal and it went wide of the far post.
Minutes later Celtic could have been three up. Greek internationalist Georgios Samaras turned veteran Rangers defender David Weir inside out, sending in a cross to the far post, Allan McGregor just managed to get his finger tips to it, but knocked it to Scott Brown whose header towards the open goal was cleared off the line by Sasa Papac.
Rangers’ best chance fell to serial gobber El-Hadji Diouf. The Senegal International found space in the box after Kyle Lafferty passed to him, however his lob was stopped by the outstretched hand of Celtic keeper Fraser Forster and gathered comfortably.
After that missed opportunity, Rangers began to sit further back and failed as an attacking force allowing Celtic to continue their onslaught, and the Ibrox side were made to pay soon after with a superb strike from Kris Commons.
Commons collected the ball from Gary Hooper, cutting inside Madjid Bougherra, somewhat too easily, before he unleashed a swerving shot deceiving McGregor in the Rangers goal. As the Rangers keeper picked himself up off the ground, Celtic Park was literally jumping and moments later after another rendition of 'I Just Can't Get Enough!' 50,000 Celtic fans went into a mass huddle in the top and lower tiers. An amazing sight for those watching on and even more amazing for those taking part, including yours truly.
Only the Rangers end was stagnant, mind you it had been like that since the first minute of the game - so much for being loyal fans.
Soon after South Korean midfielder Ki replaced Beram Kayal, who went off injured. And the Korean came close to adding a fourth for Celtic with a stinging shot which Allan McGregor could only push over the bar.
That was the final effort of the match and as the final whistle was sounded, Rangers trudged off the park dejected and shell-shocked to a chorus of boos from their own fans. While Celtic who dominated the game, celebrated on the pitch and saluted the fans before heading up the tunnel for a well-earned rest.
The bragging rights are firmly in the Celtic camp now as the SPL title looks destined to return to Celtic Park after a tw year absence. Rangers fans and Jelavic included were given a reality check and can only hope that Celtic drop points against other teams in the SPL. On this form they could go to the end of the season unbeaten.
But hold on we have to play them three more time! The Scottish Cup Fifth Round replay on the 2nd March, the League Cup Final and of course, the trip to Ibrox after the split. Who said Old Firm games were becoming tedious? After yesterday's performance certainly not me.
This match report is bang on and Celtic Park has not bounced like this since Martin O Neil left.
Posted by james dunsmuir on 02/21/2011
Those videos were amazing the atmosphere from the celtic fans was incredible......
Posted by TamC on 02/21/2011
Great Article m8 and a truly great day yesterday, I have been browsing some of the huns sites and took a look at Jeff Winters site..LOL Think jeff has scored an OG here as at the end of his article he has a photo that he describes as being taken from in amongst 6,500 rangers fans, and what is the guy in the seat infront of him doing...a lovely Nazi salute..heres a link to the article, its the pic at the bottom. http://www.jeffwinterentertainmentandmedia.co.uk/world/0910086.php?
Posted by bobby j.kennan on 02/21/2011
you are calling rangers fans bigots and then start with the word huns youre a right warmer
Posted by me me me me me on 02/21/2011
Poor wee hun thinks that hun is somehow sectarian. He must think it has summat to do with his religion.
Yes, that must be it. But I dont remember anybody mentioning religion. Hmmm... What to do, what to think? Surely, it has nothing to do with Rangers fans being a permanent embarrassment and an occasional disgrace for decades...
Posted by Frank on 02/21/2011
It seems the writer Andy Muirhead didn't hear Celtic fans singing in support of the IRA and about "Dirty Orange B*stards".
But he did hear it. Do you support or condemn it Andy?
Posted by Markybhoy on 02/21/2011
Only in your head you clown.
Just cos you dont like the term Hun does not make it sectarian.
Know a couple of Catholic Rangers fans .
Troubled souls indeed but still Huns !!
Hope you had a great weekend.
Markybhoy self confessed Feni@n Bastard again not Sectarian :)
Posted by davy on 02/21/2011
Selected hearing again from a Celtic fan.
Incidentally..one of the videos that is posted on here uses the term 'Huns'..I take it thats alright to say in your mind?
The term Hun has been deemed unacceptable..and if you can't take name calling then don't give it out.
Posted by Andy M on 02/21/2011
@Frank - I heard several songs being sung Frank. Which I do not myself sing nor back. However as per usual Rangers fans deflect deflect deflect and try to point the finger at others rather than looking at the mirror. Maybe then the issues of sectarianism would be tackled.
So rather than trying to take the moral high ground over one or two songs being sung, tackle the issues within your own support first. Mind you I didn't hear any songs being sung from Rangers fans after kick off - but before it was The Billy Boys and Famine Song being belted out.
Btw what songs do Rangers fans have to celebrate their Football side? I've not heard any in a long while.
Posted by Andy M on 02/21/2011
It is not okay in my mind, however it is not my video nor do I have a choice over the title.
Oh and rather than trying to deflect onto Celtic fans - what is your opinions of the songs being sung by Rangers fans at yesterday's match?
Or have you got selective hearing?
Posted by Paddy Murphy on 02/21/2011
How likely is the following scenario?
Dec 29 - Rangers defeat Motherwell 4-1 away and lead the SPL, are still in Europe and both domestic cups with a possible quadruple on the cards.
Jan 2 - Rangers lose 2-0 at home to Celtic and surrender top spot in the league
Feb 6 - Rangers allow 10 man Celtic to come from behind twice at Ibrox to force a Scottish Cup replay at Parkhead
Feb 17 - Rangers draw 1-1 at home with Sporting Lisbon in UEFA Cup
Feb 20 - Rangers lose 3-0 at Parkhead and hand the league initiative to Celtic
Feb 24 - Rangers draw 0-0 with Sporting in Lisbon and are eliminated from Europe...there goes the quadruple!
Mar 2 - Rangers lose to Celtic at Parkhead in Scottish Cup replay and are elimanted from the cup...there goes the treble!
Mar 20 - Rangers lose in the League Cup Final to Celtic...there goes the double!
April TBC - Rangers lose to Celtic for a 5th time this season to hand their rivals the SPL and finish the season without a trophy!
Posted by Mark on 02/21/2011
'However as per usual Rangers fans deflect deflect deflect and try to point the finger at others rather than looking at the mirror. Maybe then the issues of sectarianism would be tackled'.
You're attitude is exactly why Sectarianism is not tackled. It's a 'we're not stoping until they do attitude'
And before you respond with something, answer this: Waht would you do with the bigots? Both teams.
Posted by Andy M on 02/21/2011
First of all I would get the powers that be to draw up a proper definition of sectarianism/bigotry.
Secondly I would get the powers that be and the clubs together to class what song is bigoted/sectarian and what is not.
And then finally if such songs are continued to be sung then ban those singing the songs for life from the games home and away, and anyone giving their tickets to these bigots then they should lose their ticket and not hold another one again.
Plus bring in proper legislation and with the police on board arrest, charge and jail those involved in it.
Maybe then we might get the upperhand on it.
Posted by Hammer on 02/21/2011
Typical Celtic fan...blame everything on Rangers. The Buoys are saint's and would NEVER sing any sectarian songs. Your comments just make the situation worse but you know that. Lost all respect for you with all that selective hearing and all. Just to let you know my dad used to take me as a wee boy to watch our beloved celtic play. Guess what we stopped going because of our fellow fans would not stop chanting and singing disgusting sectarian songs at the Rangers fans.
Posted by Andy M on 02/21/2011
@Hammer you start off by claiming I am a typical Celtic fan? But where am I blaming everythng on Rangers? And I never stated anything of the sort in regards to Celtic fans being saints nor not singing sectarian songs.
And you then claim that your Dad took you to watch 'our' beloved Celtic play. And that you stopped going because of Celticfans singing and chanting disgusting chants.
You do know it takes two to tango? AND by your comment 'our' I guess your a typical Celtic fan also then.
I have never nor will I ever sing bigoted/sectarian songs or those about the IRA.
However your claims that you are a Celtic fan are quite suspect to say the least.
Posted by Ethel Cardew on 02/21/2011
See that Stiker Yellapish, has he been told to shut his hole yet?
I cant think of a single rangers player other than their Goalkeeper who would walk into a starting XI in the current Celtic side. in fact I cannot even think of an Orc that would make our bench.
Weiss and Naisy maybe as waterbhoys
Posted by Mullanaphy on 02/22/2011
Wow, just watching the stadium erupt after the third goal, Parkhead was simply electric.
Woke up at 7:30am to catch that game, what a great start to the day.
Also love the first video you posted, "Let's all do the Broony, ha HA ha ha!", that's just amazing.
Posted by Hammer on 02/22/2011
The point is your typical Celtic supporter is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion. I love Celtic the football "CLUB" but I an not your typical Celtic supporter. Singing IRA songs, rebel irish songs and waving the irish tri colour is not my cup of tea.
Of course Rangers fans are just as bad and being predictable you only mentioned them in your match report.
Posted by Andy Muirhead on 02/22/2011
Again you state your typical Celtic fan. You hae no clue what a typical Celtic fan is.
Not all TYPICAL Celtic fans wave tricolors, sing IRA songs or rebel Irish songs - which just goes to show what little you know about Celtic fans at present.
You are only going by - allegedly - what you witnessed and heard as a kid when your dad took you to a game.
And you will find that I mentioned both sets of fans in the report hammer.
Posted by foxybhoy on 02/22/2011
ANDY M:- if u want to hear disgusting songs, listen to what the HUNS are singing during the tribute to an innocent young boy who was murdered a couple of weeks ago! do huns actually have any songs that dont refere to 'fenian bastards', the famine or gayboy king billy. if u think celtic fans, who were not so long ago awarded for their conduct by bloody uefa, are disgusting, u need your thick skull examined! LETS ALL DO THE HUDDLE!!!!!
Posted by Andy M on 02/22/2011
You need to read my comments properly I was replying to someone else who stated that Celtic fans were disgusting for songs they sang, I did not state this. I stated that I do not back fans who sing songs bout the IRA etc as I do not myself sing them.
And your comments in regards to what songs Rangers hae about their club, I have already asked about this within the comments section and still awaiting an answer.
I was at the match on Sunday however I was at the other end of stadium and did not hear anything what the Rangers fans sang or chanted, howeer I have been told they were.
I might have a thick skull but it certainly doesn't need examined. Please read the comments properly before replying otherwise you get the wrong end of the stick.
Posted by foxybhoy on 02/22/2011
i stand corrected andy, jumped in with 2 feet there!
Posted by Andy M on 02/22/2011
Well don't do it again ya naughty bhoy tut tut lol
Posted by hailhail on 02/24/2011
nice write up ,great performance and hopefully we can beat Mwell on sun to keep the pressure on and the confidence high,best football in years atm, the rangers fans cant grasp the fact we are not a sectraian club ,not surprising , they live in the dark ages ,from there mind set to there football .
Posted by Mert on 02/25/2011
Let's all do the Broony! \o/
MON THE HOOPS
Posted by Aussie Celt on 02/25/2011
5 of us made the 36 hour trip from Adelaide Australia and loved every second. Without adding fuel to the fire we are fairly typical Celtic supporters never sang one song about the IRA some may have but the typical supporters were singing walk on, just can't get enough, let's all do the huddle etc
Hammer after one of the happiest days in recent memory at Celtic park cam I assure you, you are far from a typical Celtic supporter
Posted by celticbhoy on 02/26/2011
Really like your match report. Love the videos.Dont get any Scottish fitbaw here i NZ but keep a close watch on the Celtic on the internet. Just cant get enough the noo!!
Posted by karen murray on 05/15/2011
I've just read through some off the bloggs posted,past & present, all I know is if you love football & happen to have been brought up in scotland, look at the history of the club and know the true meaning of loyalty,passion& doing good, then you have no choice(unless you are full of hatred,bile & poison or dare I use the term nazi behaviour then CELTIC is the choice of common sense.
THERES ONLY ONE NEIL LENNON.
R.I.P. TOMMY BURNS
Posted by kevin mc garry on 06/15/2011
was at 3 0 game wif son brill hail hail utc
Posted by Dylan Cooney on 02/09/2012
16 match ubeaten run, jesus celtic must win the league now, i can't seen anyone stoping celtic, Neil lennon has done an amazing job since taken over at celtic.
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Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine.com and produces the Scottish Football show The Final Whistle for Pulse 98.4FM. He also works on a freelance basis and has contributed to the Daily Record, The Scotsman, the Daily Mail and hasfeatured on BBC Radio Scotland and Sports Tonight TV.