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Top 10 Old Firm derby matches

Celtic v Rangers – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

The coronavirus shutdown brought the curtain down on Scottish football just two days before Rangers were due to host Celtic at Ibrox.

However, the pause in action does offer the opportunity to reflect on some classic derby battles from down the years.

Here the PA news agency takes a look back at 10 of the most entertaining Old Firm head-to-heads:

CELTIC 7 RANGERS 1, Scottish League Cup final – October 1957

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The League Cup had been around for 12 years before the Old Firm were finally left as the last two standing – and it proved to be well worth the wait for the Parkhead faithful.

Their team ran riot against the Gers, dishing out their heaviest ever defeat with a scoreline that remains a record for a major British cup final.

Billy McPhail claimed a hat-trick as Neil Mochan’s double and strikes from Sammy Wilson and Willie Fernie completed a momentous win still remembered in a famous verse which begins, “Oh Hampden in the sun…”

CELTIC 4 RANGERS 2, Scottish Premier Division – 1979

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The night when 10 men won the league. The race for the title went right down to the Hoops’ last game of the season but the trophy looked to be slipping through their grasp when they fell behind early before having Johnny Doyle ordered off just after half-time.

Billy McNeill’s Parkhead side responded with goals from Roy Aitken and George McCluskey before Bobby Russell gave the visitors – who had two games still to play – hope they could yet snatch the flag.

But a Colin Jackson own-goal saw Celtic regain control before Murdo McLeod’s last-minute thunderbolt sealed the championship.

RANGERS 2 CELTIC 2, Scottish Premier Division – October 1987

Rangers players goalkeeper Chris Woods, Terry Butcher and Graham Roberts in Glasgow, at the Sheriff Court, where they and Celtic’s Frank McAvennie denied charges arising from their “Old Firm” derby at Ibrox Stadium in October 1987

Rangers players goalkeeper Chris Woods, Terry Butcher and Graham Roberts in Glasgow, at the Sheriff Court, where they and Celtic’s Frank McAvennie denied charges arising from their “Old Firm” derby at Ibrox Stadium in October 1987 (PA)

Arguably the most explosive Old Firm clash ever ended with the Rangers trio of Chris Woods, Terry Butcher and Graham Roberts ending up in court along with Celtic’s Frank McAvennie, each charged with a breach of the peace.

The fireworks started when Woods and McAvennie were both sent-off after a first-half bust-up, while Butcher followed them down the tunnel after the break with his team two goals down.

Roberts was forced to go in goal for Graeme Souness’ team but the Englishman finished the game orchestrating the Rangers celebrations in front of the Copland Road end after Richard Gough’s 90th-minute tap-in snatched an unlikely draw.

RANGERS 5 CELTIC 1, Scottish Premier Division – August 1988

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Celtic started the campaign still riding atop the wave of euphoria produced by their centenary double triumph the season before.

And the grins of the travelling support packed into the Broomloan Road  stand grew even wider when McAvennie fired them ahead just two minutes in.

But the smiles were quickly wiped from their faces by rampant Rangers. Ally McCoist levelled, a Ray Wilkins screamer put Souness’ team in front before further strikes from McCoist, Kevin Drinkell and Mark Walters saw Rangers enter a new era that would take them all the way to nine-in-a-row.

CELTIC 0 RANGERS 3, Scottish Premier League – May 1999

Referee Hugh Dallas receives medical attention after being struck with a coin at the Parkhead 'shame game'

Referee Hugh Dallas receives medical attention after being struck with a coin at the Parkhead ‘shame game’ (Ben Curtis/PA)

Rangers clinched the title on enemy territory – but that is only half the story. Allowing this derby to kick-off at 6.05pm on a bank holiday Sunday was not the wisest move from the authorities. With the atmosphere super-charged on the back of a day’s drinking, trouble quickly brewed on and off the pitch.

Neil McCann put Dick Advocaat’s Rangers ahead but it really kicked off when Stephane Mahe refused to leave the pitch after being shown a second yellow card. A fan confronted referee Hugh Dallas before the official was then struck by a coin thrown from the crowd.

Once back on his feet Dallas awarded Rangers a controversial penalty which Jorg Albertz tucked home. McCann settled the matter with a second after the break but there was more drama as Gers’ Rod Wallace and Vidar Riseth were both dismissed late on, while Gers mocked the rivals with a celebratory huddle after the final whistle.

CELTIC 6 RANGERS 2, Scottish Premier League – August 2000

Henrik Larsson celebrates after scoring in Celtic's 6-2 demolition derby win over Rangers

Henrik Larsson celebrates after scoring in Celtic’s 6-2 demolition derby win over Rangers (David Cheskin/PA)

Martin O’Neill’s first Old Firm game as Celtic boss could not have gone any better for the Northern Irishman as the Hoops crushed Advocaat’s multi-million pound line-up at Parkhead.

The home side were ahead after less than 60 seconds through Chris Sutton with Stiliyan Petrov and Paul Lambert making it 3-0 after only 11 devastating minutes. Claudio Reyna pulled a goal back for the Ibrox side just before the break but early in the second half Henrik Larsson made it 4-1.

Gers striker Billy Dodds converted a penalty to reduce the deficit but there was to be no comeback. Larsson, with a header, made it 5-2 and on the final whistle Sutton heaped another dose of misery on the Light Blues.

RANGERS 3 CELTIC 2, Scottish Cup final – May 2002

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One of the great Old Firm Scottish Cup finals ended in victory for Rangers thanks to a last-minute strike by Peter Lovenkrands.

The Danish forward had already levelled John Hartson’s 19th-minute headed opener before a wonderful Barry Ferguson free-kick cancelled out Bobo Balde’s close-range header midway through the second half.

With the game heading for extra-time, Lovenkrands got his head on a Neil McCann cross to take the trophy to Ibrox.

RANGERS 2 CELTIC 2 (Rangers win 5-4 on penalties), Scottish Cup semi-final – April 2016

Rangers celebrate winning their Hampden shoot out

Rangers celebrate winning their Hampden shoot out (Jeff Holmes/PA)

Rangers were on their way back to the top flight following the club’s well-documented financial implosion when they came up against Ronny Deila’s Hoops at Hampden.

The Parkhead men were heading for a fifth successive title but Mark Warburton’s Championship outfit proved more than a match for their bitter rivals, with a thrilling encounter tied at 2-2 following extra time as goals from Rangers’ Kenny Miller and Barrie McKay were cancelled out by Erik Sviatchenko and Tom Rogic.

It took a dramatic penalty shoot-out – the first between the sides – to determine a winner, with the Rangers end erupting in jubilant scenes as Rogic ballooned his final spot-kick over the bar.

CELTIC 5 RANGERS 1, Scottish Premiership – September 2016

Celtic’s Moussa Dembele became the first player in 50 years to net an Old Firm league hat-trick

Celtic’s Moussa Dembele became the first player in 50 years to net an Old Firm league hat-trick (Jeff Holmes/PA)

Parkhead majority shareholder Dermot Desmond dug deep to lure Brendan Rodgers to Glasgow on a £2.5million a-year salary – and it did not take the Northern Irishman long to start repaying that hefty pay packet.

Moussa Dembele scored the first Old Firm league hat-trick in 50 years while Scott Sinclair and Stuart Armstrong also netted as the champions quickly quelled belief at Ibrox that their side could make a triumphant return to the top flight.

Joe Garner pulled a goal back just before half-time to make it 2-1 but the floodgates opened after the hapless Philip Senderos was sent off with 15 minutes left.

RANGERS 2 CELTIC 3, Scottish Premiership – March 2018

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The Light Blues felt they had turned the tide after 18 bruising months of playing catch-up to Rodgers’ Invincibles and caretaker boss Graeme Murty – placed in temporary charge for a second time after the failure of Warburton and Pedro Caixinha to break the Celts’ dominance – hoped victory at Ibrox would take the title race to the wire.

A pulsating first half saw Gers twice go ahead through Josh Windass and Daniel Candeias, only for Rogic and Dembele to respond for the visitors.

When Jozo Simunovic was dismissed for elbowing Alfredo Morelos, Rangers were presented with a golden opportunity but they blinked and Odsonne Edouard netted the winner, with Morelos’ horror miss late on allowing Celtic to canter off towards another title.