No luck for Rangers
beaten 1-2 by Celtic this afternoon in a game where
the Ibrox men at the very least deserved a replay.
Today's game marked Rangers' eighth consecutive away
Scottish Cup-tie and seventh successive visit to
Parkhead for an 'Old Firm' fixture in the national
Manager Alex McLeish made one change from Ne'erday
with new signing Bojan Djordjic from Manchester United
replacing Shota Arveladze whilst the other new Ibrox
arrival, Thomas Buffel from Feyenoord, was named as a
substitute. Also on the bench as substitute goalkeeper
was Allan McGregor, recalled from St. Johnstone.
The visitors had the better of the early play, but it
was Celtic who first threatened in eleven minutes when
Stilian Petrov volleyed an Alan Thompson free-kick,
headed out by Marvin Andrews, straight at Stefan Klos.
Three minutes later John Hartson's header from a
Thompson cross struck the base of the post - Andrews
scrambling the ball clear.
Bojan Djordjic was settling in well - his sixteenth
minute corner finding Andrews whose header flew over,
but in the process Marvin clashed heads with Dado
Prso, both players requiring treatment.
With Rangers temporarily reduced to nine men, Thompson
was a danger every time he received the ball - a
25-yard shot flashing just over in nineteen minutes.
Prso was off the field for two minutes, but Andrews
took all of seven minutes to return - mercifully
Yet another Thompson cross created havoc in the Ibrox
defence on the half-hour when Klos fisted clear under
pressure from Hartson - Alex Rae failed to clear and
the Celt somehow failed to turn the chance into the
net, Klos eventually smothering the ball.
Celtic took the lead in 38 minutes when Zurab
Khizanishvili deflected a long Rab Douglas clearance
into the path of Sutton who swept the ball home.
Trailing at the interval, the Light Blue legions must
have had a feeling of 'déjà vu', yet within two
minutes of the restart the scores were levelled when
Fernando Ricksen headed home an Alan Hutton cross.
It was the first goal at Celtic Park by a Rangers
player since Shota Arveladze in October 2002 - and
suddenly it was all to play for.
Three minutes later Klos denied Petrov from a Thompson
cross, then Khizanishvili cleared an Aidan McGeady
chip, touched at full stretch by Klos, off the line in
The woodwork came to Klos' rescue three minutes later
when Sutton's header from a Thompson corner came back
off the post.
Thomas Buffel replaced Bojan Djordjic in 67 minutes,
the latter suffering from double vision following a
clash with Bobo Balde.
Sutton again was inches wide from a Thompson cross
four minutes later - but it was his strike partner
Hartson who gave Celtic the lead in 76 minutes,
turning the ball home at the far post after a Didier
Agathe cross was missed by everyone.
Douglas kept Celtic in the lead three minutes later
when he touched a Novo flick from a Prso drive round
Five successive Rangers corners came to nought before
Petrov almost clinched victory when Klos held his shot
from a Sutton lay-off in 83 minutes.
In the dying minutes Buffel had a chance to make his
debut one to remember when he scooped a head-flick
from fellow substitute Steven Thompson over the bar
following a long through-ball from Andrews.
The final whistle ended Ibrox participation in this
season's tournament, and afterwards Alex McLeish
"We played well in the second-half, as good as we've
played here in some time. Individual errors at the
back cost us dearly - Celtic have quality strikers who
are cute enough to know how to win free-kicks. Their
dead balls have hurt us for five years. We didn't
create as much as we would have liked. We deserved a
replay, but we need new players to strengthen the
CELTIC Douglas; Balde, Varga, Laursen; Agathe,
McNamara, Petrov, Thompson, McGeady (Camara 84);
UNUSED SUBS Marshall, Juninho, Lambert, Wallace
RANGERS Klos; Hutton, Andrews, Khizanishvili, Vignal;
Namouchi (Thompson 80), Ricksen, A. Rae, Djordjic
(Buffel 67); Prso, Novo
UNUSED SUBS McGregor, Malcolm, Ball
REFEREE Hugh Dallas