Celtic beat Rangers in thriller to go 12 points clear at top of table

Celtic have taken a huge step towards winning the Scottish Premiership title by recording a 3-2 victory over Rangers in Saturday’s Old Firm derby.

Kyogo Furuhashi netted twice for Ange Postecoglou‘s side, while Jota was also on the scoresheet, as the Hoops edged the five-goal thriller to move 12 points clear at the top of the table with seven games left.

Aaron Mooy‘s return was the main team news for Celtic, with the Australian replacing Tomoki Iwata in the starting side, but Connor Goldson was crucially absent for Rangers due to a hip

Furuhashi had the ball in the back of the Rangers net in the fifth minute, converting from close range, but the offside flag was quickly raised, much to the relief of the visitors.

Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor was forced to make a save to keep out a strike from Callum McGregor in the 13th minute, with Celtic very much on the front foot in the early exchanges.

Allan McGregor made another smart save to keep out Jota’s effort in the 17th minute, but he could not prevent Celtic from taking the lead in the 26th minute of the contest.

The assist came from Matt O’Riley, who picked out Furuhashi, and Celtic’s leading goalscorer this season found the back of the net with an excellent finish after spinning inside the penalty box

Allan McGregor was again called into action to deny Jota in the 31st minute, and Rangers then managed to level the scores in the closing stages of the first period, with James Tavernier scoring a brilliant free kick to make it 99 goals for the club in all competitions.

Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart did well to keep out a low strike from Alfredo Morelos in the early stages of the second period, before the Rangers forward had a header deflected wide from the resulting corner.

The home side regained the lead in the 63rd minute, though, with Furuhashi scoring his second of the match, managing to turn the ball into the back of the net from close range after Rangers had failed to clear their lines.

Celtic then took a 3-1 lead in the 73rd minute of the contest through Jota, with the attacker racing onto a poor back-pass from John Souttar before finding the back of the net with a clever finish

Rangers had one back in the 79th minute, with Tavernier scoring his 100th goal for Rangers by netting a back-post header, with the Old Firm derby set for a grandstand finish.

Tavernier steered another header just wide of the post shortly after, passing up the chance to score what would have been an incredible hat-trick, and Rangers just could not find a third as their five-game winning run in all competitions came to an end.

Celtic will be looking to continue their title charge against Kilmarnock next Sunday, while Rangers will be aiming to return to winning ways when they host St Mirren next Sunday

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