Rangers turned in a monumental performance to defeat rivals Celtic 4-1. Amy McDonald’s side were deserved winners in the new manager’s first Old Firm game.
Sarah Robertson opened the scoring with a calm finish from a Lauren Davidson cut back. Claire Adams then doubled the hosts lead from the penalty spot. Davidson added a third before the break volleying home Hayley Sinclair’s cross.
Celtic got one back in the second half, but an Amy Muir cross took a deflection before finding the back of the net to wrap up the win for the Bluebelles.
It was a nervy start fitting of a derby, Terri Donnelly and Chelsie Watson had to be alert in the heart of the Rangers defence. The duo worked well to stamp out any Celtic attacks that came their way.
Rangers were awarded for their solid play with the game’s opening goal. Davidson worked hard on the wing to lose her defender and drive into the box. A smart cutback found Robertson all alone as she composed herself to deliver a calm finish into the net. Rangers were ahead and the hosts grew with confidence as they looked to extend their lead.
The game’s second goal came from the penalty spot. A Rangers corner found it’s way to Sinclair who had a shot from just outside the box. Sinclair’s shot was blocked by a Celtic hand and it was a straightforward decision for the referee.
With the pressure building, Adams was the coolest person in the ground as she sent the goalkeeper the wrong and doubled Rangers’ lead. Adams was swamped by her teammates as a famous Old Firm victory looked well and truly on.
The home side were sent in to delirium as they added a third before the break. Sinclair worked well to beat her defender and deliver a dangerous ball into the six yard box. Davidson ran off her marker and volleyed the ball past the helpless Celtic goalkeeper.
Celtic were dumbstruck by what they witnessed in the first half as Rangers rampaged into a dominating lead. The Bluebelles were clearly fired up for this one and the scoreline at halftime bared evidence to that.
The hosts would have been expecting a response and Celtic came out strong in the second half. Kirsty Howat got a goal back for the visitors. Jordyn Elliot initially made a very good save but the ball feel to Howat and with Elliot out of position, Howat finished into the bottom corner.
Celtic kept pushing forward but despite sending a numerous shots wide and rattling the post, they could not find a way to break the Rangers defence and get the ball past Elliot.
Rangers came close to adding a fourth after a Watson free kick. Watson played the ball deep into the box and after a stramash on the six yard line, Jenna Clark got her toe to the ball but could only send it off the post.
The game was still poised as both teams pushed for the next goal. Anything that Celtic could send towards the Rangers goal was being easily mopped up by Elliot who put in a confident performance.
With the game ticking down, Rangers got their fourth goal to settle matters beyond doubt. Rangers were keeping the ball tight in the corner to try and wind the clock down. Muir wriggled free and found some space to deliver a ball into the box. The ball went through a mass of bodies and took a touch somewhere on the way to deflect into the Celtic goal.
There was scenes of utter jubilation as the full time whistle went both on the pitch and the sidelines as Rangers were awarded with a fantastic victory after a superb performance.
The derby win will certainly be a boost to Amy McDonald’s side as they now prepare to face Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup. Rangers will face Aberdeen this Sunday at New Tinto Park with kick off at 2pm. Admission will be £5 for Adults, £2 Concessions and u16s go free.
Report & Picture: David Marshall / Rangers FC