Celtic eases past Rangers in 1st Old Firm game in 3 years
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — The first Old Firm derby in nearly three years was predictably one-sided as Celtic beat Rangers 2-0 in the Scottish League Cup semifinals on Sunday, exposing the gulf that has formed between two of world football’s biggest rivals.
First-half goals by Leigh Griffiths and Kris Commons were enough for the green side of Glasgow in the 400th match between Scotland’s two biggest teams.
Celtic, the reigning Scottish champion, hardly had to stretch against a rival that plays in the second tier as it battles its way back up the league following demotion to the bottom division in 2012 for financial mismanagement.
Dundee United awaits Celtic in the final after beating Aberdeen 2-1 in the first semifinal on Saturday.
A usually incendiary fixture appeared to pass off without major incident at the neutral national stadium, Hampden Park, although a huge melee involving players from both teams erupted in injury time after a late tackle by Celtic captain Scott Brown.
Rangers fans in the 50,925 crowd sang loudly and proudly at the final whistle, happy to just be back at this level after three years of pain brought on by boardroom chaos that left the club on its knees.
Rangers went out of business in 2012 and a new team had to be developed, a damaging blow to a club with a proud heritage and one that had been Scottish champions a record 54 times.
Its current lineup lacks the big names of the past few decades and Rangers didn’t come close to forcing a save out of Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon.
“We were the better team, the better footballing team,” Brown said. “After the first half, we’d done the job and then we just sat back.”
Griffiths headed in the opening goal in the 10th minute and Commons drove in a swerving shot from the edge of the area in the 31st.