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Celtic managers and their derby debuts against Rangers

Hearts of Midlothian v Celtic – cinch Premiership – Tynecastle Park
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Ange Postecoglou faces Rangers for the first time as Celtic manager on Sunday.

Here we look back at the derby debuts of the past 10 managers of the Hoops.

Five of them have enjoyed a winning start against Celtic’s bitter rivals.

Brendan Rodgers  – Celtic 5 Rangers 1 (September 2016)

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After an opening to his reign which included a couple of European defeats in Gibraltar and Israel, this derby demolition effectively kick-started Rodgers’ sensational spell at Parkhead. The Northern Irishman’s two main summer signings, Moussa Dembele – with a brilliant hat-trick – and Scott Sinclair, were on target, and Stuart Armstrong sealed the win. On a day when Joey Barton made his only derby appearance for Rangers, the beleaguered Ibrox side’s misery was compounded as Philippe Senderos was sent off.

Ronny Deila – Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (February 2015)

With Rangers in the Championship, Deila had to wait longer than most Celtic managers to get a crack at the derby. The Norwegian’s first taste of it came in a League Cup semi-final at Hampden and first-half goals from Leigh Griffiths and Kris Commons gave him a comfortable win over a Rangers side under the charge of caretaker boss Kenny McDowall.

Neil Lennon – Celtic 2 Rangers 1 (May 2010)

Marc Antoine Fortune

Celtic’s Marc Antoine Fortune celebrates his winner with Scott Brown (Lynne Cameron/PA)

In interim charge after taking the reins from Tony Mowbray, Lennon enhanced his chances of getting the job on a permanent basis when he oversaw victory in his first derby. Lee Naylor’s deflected free-kick gave the hosts the lead and Marc-Antoine Fortune headed Celtic’s winner after Kenny Miller had levelled in the penultimate league game of the campaign.

Tony Mowbray – Rangers 2 Celtic 1 (October 2009)

After winning five of his first six league games in charge, ex-Celtic defender Mowbray suffered his first domestic defeat away to the city rivals when Kenny Miller struck two early goals for Walter Smith’s side before Aiden McGeady pulled one back with a penalty. The former Hibs and West Brom boss took only one point from his three derbies in charge before being sacked in March 2010.

Gordon Strachan – Rangers 3 Celtic 1 (August 2005)

Gordon Strachan

Gordon Strachan shows his frustration (Steve Welsh/PA)

Less than a month after starting with a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Artmedia Bratislava, Strachan suffered more big-game woe when his nine-man side crashed to defeat against Alex McLeish’s side at Ibrox. Dado Prso, Thomas Buffel and Nacho Novo scored for the hosts, with Shaun Maloney scoring a late penalty for the visitors, who had Alan Thompson and Lennon sent off. Strachan swiftly recovered to win the title in his first season as Rangers lost their way and finished third, with Hearts – in madcap owner Vladimir Romanov’s first full season in control – stepping up to enjoy a rare second-place finish.

Martin O’Neill – Celtic 6 Rangers 2 (August 2000)

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Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton each helped themselves to a double, with further goals from Paul Lambert and Stilian Petrov as O’Neill enjoyed an Old Firm debut beyond his wildest dreams. Goals from Claudio Reyna and Billy Dodds were nothing more than scant consolation for a Rangers side whose misery was compounded by Barry Ferguson’s late red card.

John Barnes – Rangers 4 Celtic 2 (November 1999)

The former Liverpool midfielder’s reign as Celtic boss proved to be a disaster and this game gave an early indication of what was to come. Jonatan Johansson gave Rangers the lead but Eyal Berkovic hit a double to put Celtic 2-1 ahead before Jorg Albertz equalised with a penalty on the stroke of half-time after Paul Lambert had injured himself giving away the spot-kick. Rangers won the game with goals after the break from Lorenzo Amoruso and Gabriel Amato.

Jo Venglos – Rangers 0 Celtic 0 (September 1998)

Jo Venglos

Jozef Venglos in the Celtic dugout at Ibrox (PA)

The Slovakian endured a difficult start to his reign with defeats by Aberdeen and Airdrie and a Champions League exit at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb preceding league draws with Dundee and Kilmarnock. A draw was not the worst result for Venglos with that backdrop, although it did little to bridge the gap. He would enjoy a 5-1 Old Firm win ahead of an upturn in fortunes but his only season proved fruitless in terms of trophies.

Wim Jansen – Rangers 1 Celtic 0 (November 1997)

Wim Jansen

Wim Jansen had the last laugh (Chris Bacon/PA)

As the Dutchman was warming to his one and only season, Walter Smith was preparing for his last as Rangers boss and looking to lead his side to a record-breaking 10th successive title. Ibrox skipper Richard Gough grabbed the only goal that day and celebrated by raising his 10 digits, although Hearts were top of the table at the time and Celtic had the last laugh by winning the title.

Tommy Burns – Rangers 0 Celtic 2 (August 1994)

Goals from John Collins and Paul McStay secured the win for Burns, who got the better of Smith in their head-to-heads over his first season in charge despite Celtic finishing fourth in the league. It was a different story in the subsequent two seasons with Celtic winning only one derby in 11 meetings.