Georgious Samaras of Celtic is tackled by Maurice Edu of Rangers during the Clydesdale Bank Premier League match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park in Glasgow Scotland. Celtic and Rangers renew the Old Firm Derby on December 28, 2011. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Celtic Vs. Rangers, Old Firm Derby: Bhoys Go Top With 1-0 Win

Rangers were far from their best at Celtic Park on Wednesday, as Celtic took a well deserved 1-0 win.

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Celtic Vs. Rangers, Old Firm Derby: Final Score, Bhoys Grab Win To Go Top

The first half of the Old Firm Derby between Celtic and Rangers was a dead even encounter, with Rangers having a good goal disallowed, but Celtic were so much better than their visitors in the second half that Rangers can hardly even feel hard done by. The Hoops scored the game's only goal early in the first half to secure a 1-0 win, and they should have scored more. They're now top of the Scottish Premier League, just seven weeks after being down by 15 points.

Lee Wallace headed a ball over the line in the 7th minute off of a Sone Aluko cross, but Fraser Forester palmed the ball out of the net before the officials could see that the ball had crossed the line. In the 24th minute, Carlos Bocanegra mis-controlled a ball knocked down to him by Nikica Jelavic on a corner kick, with the ball bouncing off his knee and over the ball. This would be Rangers' last clear-cut chance.

Celtic found the winner in the 52nd minute, on a corner kick that was poorly defended. Charlie Mulgrew provided the assist with a fantastic corner to the back post, and Joe Ledley headed in the winner. His header was a free one, though there's no taking away from the fantastic ball that Mulgrew played in.

The Bhoys now sit on 50 points from 21 games, while Rangers sit on 48. Celtic have now won nine consecutive games in the SPL.


Celtic Vs. Rangers, Old Firm Derby: Halftime Score, Tied 0-0 In Open Match

Celtic and Rangers haven't produced any goals and also haven't produced a whole lot of quality thus far in the Old Firm Derby, but it hasn't been for a lack of action. It's been a fun match so far, even if the intensity of the rivalry and the wind hasn't been the least bit conducive to beautiful football. It's been an even game, but Rangers can feel a bit hard done by, as they were not given a good goal. The score is tied up at 0-0 at halftime, but it seems unlikely to finish that way.

The moment of controversy came in the 7th minute, when Sone Aluko played a cross to the back post from the right flank. Lee Wallace got forward and got on the end of the cross with a header to the near post that appeared to go into the goal, but Fraser Forster made a save. Upon replay, it's apparent that the ball crossed the line, but the move happened extremely quickly and the linesman was screened. The call was missed, but the officials can hardly be blamed.

The teams created a couple more clear cut chances in the opening 25 minutes before things got a bit more chippy and a bit less open for the final 20 minutes. In the 16th minute, Allan McGregor saved a shot by Gary Hooper, but the rebound bounced to Georgios Samaras. He put the ball into the back of the net, but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside. Six minutes later, Carlos Bocanegra had a chance to score on a corner kick when he found himself on the end of a header by Nikica Jelavic, but the ball bounced off his knee and over the crossbar.

Both teams' tactics and the style of play have very much been dictated by the very high winds. There should be a goal or two in the second half, but it wouldn't be surprising to see the game remain open and still end 0-0.


Celtic Vs. Rangers, Old Firm Derby: Lineups

Rangers once led Celtic by 15 points in the Scottish Premier League, but reversals of fortune mean that Celtic can go top of the table with a win at Celtic Park on Wednesday night. There have been sustained winds of over 30 miles per hour in Glasgow, so don't expect the prettiest football game in the world. The atmosphere, however, will be fantastic, and the players will be giving it 100 percent as always. Here are the lineups for the Old Firm Derby.

Celtic Lineup (4-4-2): Forster; Matthews, Rogne, Mulgrew, Ledley; Brown, Kayal, Wanyama, Forrest; Hooper, Samaras

Rangers Lineup (4-4-2): McGregor; Broadfoot, Bocanegra, Bartley, Papac; Wallace, McCulloch, Davis, Aluko; Jelavic, Lafferty

Kickoff is at 2:45 p.m. ET and 7:45 p.m. local time. The match is only available in the USA through pay-per-view. You can catch it on Sportsnet World in Canada and Sky Sports 1 in the UK. We'll have live coverage in our Celtic vs. Rangers, Old Firm Derby StoryStream.


Celtic Vs. Rangers, Old Firm Derby Team News: James Forrest And Dorin Goian Will Play No Part

Celtic and Rangers will have squads that are mostly fit and suspension-free for their Old Firm Derby clash on Wednesday, with a couple of notable absences. Young striker James Forrest is not expected to be in the Celtic team due to injury. Rangers will be missing defender Dorin Goian, thanks to his sending off against St. Mirren in the previous round of fixtures.

That suspension leaves Rangers a bit thin at the back. Goian's fellow defenders Daniel Majstorovic and Glenn Loovens are still out with injuries, meaning that Carlos Bocanegra is going to need to have a massive game for Rangers in a makeshift back line. Gers did get one piece of good news ahead of the game, with Lee McCulloch made available after he won his appeal against his sending off in the St. Mirren match.

Celtic could be thin up top without Forrest, with Georgios Samaras suffering from an illness. He's expected to suit up and play a part. Winger/forward Anthony Stokes has also recently returned from injury, as has fullback Adam Matthews.


Celtic vs Rangers, Old Firm Derby: Gers Put Themselves In A Bad Position With St. Mirren Loss

Rangers lost for the second time this season at St Mirren on Christmas Eve and will be keen to extend their lead to four points against Celtic on Wednesday. Ross Dunbar previews the game from a Rangers perspective.

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