Celtic conquer Rangers to win first Old Firm derby of season
The Hoops defeated the Light Blues 2-0 at a packed Ibrox Stadium on Sunday.
Odsonne Edouard and Jonny Hayes grabbed the goals as Celtic outfought Rangers at Ibrox to go three clear at the top on Sunday.
"When the whistle sounds - the charge begins."
That was the quote which emblazoned the entire Broomland road end of Ibrox ahead of this pulsating Derby.
On my way in, I was greeted at the entrance door by an old man draped in Rangers colours: "Son, for four times a season, nothing else matters."
That's what this derby meant - from when Bobby Madden blew his first to his last whistle - nothing else mattered
For the first time since 2010 these old foes went to battle having both achieved a 100% start to the Premiership season.
As a journo you always go up to the press box early at an Old Firm derby to soak up the atmosphere. Sitting in the main stand, the noise was deafening as the teams emerged.
All the passion, nervousness, fear and excitement compiled into a noise so loud - the whole city knew Glasgow's big two were colliding.
The match settled into its frantic 100mph pace, so accustom to this fixture. Every tackle, every mistake greeted with a wall of noise.
Twenty minutes past and both sides where desperate not to make the first mistake.
From the shouts behind me the Rangers faithful were growing nervous. I'm sure the Celtic fans were as well but I'll fully admit I couldn't hear them with the reduced allocation.
In this current football climate and the money involved - many ask the question what does £9m get you?
Simple answer: Odsonne Edouard.
And after the half hour mark the Frenchman raced past the Rangers defender and slotted under Allan McGregor to draw first blood in the derby. And suddenly the 900 Celtic fans could be heard loud and clear.
As the half-time whistle approached, Celtic were in control - and Neil Lennon knew it.
The Northern Irishman was kicking every ball, applauding every pass and even found time to give the Rangers fans behind the dugout a cheeky but playful reminder of the score.
The Ibrox crowd were not happy with their side's performance. For the first time this season I witnessed the Rangers fans get right on the backs of their players.
They did little in the first-half to trouble Fraser Forster in the Celtic goal.
And as Bobby Madden blew for the interval, Steven Gerrard was reminded of that with the chorus of boos directed at his side.
Chatting to fans at half time behind the press gantry it was clear to see where they felt it went wrong - no width and being out fought.
No doubt Rangers started better in the second-half. Their width, passing and tempo - all absent in the first 45 - seemed to have returned.
That being said, the duo of Bitton and Jullien were a match for everything the Rangers attack threw at them.
That made Gerrard's next roll of the dice inevitable - Alfredo Morelos on for Jermaine Defoe.
The Columbian immediately showing his threat with a nice touch and move past the Celtic defence and unleashing a shot wide of Forster's goal.
Lennon was forced into a reshuffle with Moritz Bauer making his Hoops debut for the injured Nir Bitton.
Rangers continued to find a way though - Aribo this time testing Forster - but still Celtic were holding strong, pressing high and limiting Gerrard's men to little chances.
Rangers were given a reminder of Celtic's attacking threat with a long range shot by Edouard, but away attacks in the second half were few and far between.
Gerrard has McGregor to thank for a pair of world-class saves from Elhamed and Jullien around 75 minutes, which would have saw the points head back to Parkhead.
But Rangers survived and we were heading into a blockbuster last ten minutes.
A long-ranged shot by Tavernier went over. A Ntcham shot was saved by McGregor. Tackles, headers, clearances. These two bitter rivals were trading blows like a heavyweight bout at Madison Square Garden.
And it was Celtic who dealt the killer blow. With Rangers piling everything forward - sub Jonny Hayes popped up and made sure that derby day belonged to Celtic.
Jordan Jones let emotions get the better of him as he lunged into a challenge on Bauer and was shown a red on the full-time whistle.
For Celtic, jubilance, euphoria and triumph.
For Rangers, despair, anguish and pain.
That's what this derby does... and we only have to wait until December 29 to do it all again.