Rangers’ big names learn experience is no match for youthful verve

first_imgDerby days in Glasgow are always divisive and often decisive in making or breaking reputations as well as laying down markers for each team’s season.This clash was no different albeit perhaps not in the way many had anticipated.Much of the pre-match hype surrounded the midfield battle between Scott Brown and Joey Barton, which in truth turned out to be a non-event as the hosts dominated the middle of the park with ease.The build up to this game started almost as soon as April’s meeting in the Scottish Cup ended and what unfolded on the field was a symbol of the two clubs’ transfer strategies since that day at Hampden. Mark Warburton opted for experience both in the close season and at Celtic Park but his gamble backfired spectacularly as his team were simply outclassed by a Celtic side full of verve and youthful exuberance. Rangers’ Joey Barton cuts a dejected figure after his side concede a fifth goal. SNS Clever but simple movement allowed Dembele to evade Rangers’ centre backs to powerfully head home the opening goal, which kick started the contest. His composure and technique were in evidence as he left Phillippe Senderos on his backside for his second; the finish with the outside of his foot will be replayed in derby goal montages for years to come.Dembele showed his vision with a pin-point pass to allow Scott Sinclair to continue his outstanding start to his Celtic career before he delivered his own crowning moment. With Joey Barton forced to fill in at centre back, Dembele plucked Lustig’s cross out of the air before placing a left-footed finish past the helpless Wes Foderingham.Senderos, brought in for his experience, capped his disastrous debut with a needless handball to earn his marching orders while even derby veteran David Weir let his emotions get the better of him as he was sent to the stand by Willie Collum.Philippe Senderos is sent off by Willie Collum. SNSFor Mark Warburton the post-mortem from this derby demolition will be long and torturous. On the evidence of this game as well as other early season matches, the defensive frailties which have been evident for over a year are no closer to being solved with Rob Kiernan also enduring a nightmare at the heart of Rangers’ backline. The Englishman’s decision to field such an attacking starting line up didn’t pay off as they search for a fluid and alternative plan going forward when Martyn Waghorn isn’t in the side. Joe Garner was selected to provide a physical presence and while he may have netted his first Rangers goal, he was left isolated for much of the match.A beaming Dembele said he will remember this day for the rest of his life. You suspect those on the other side of Glasgow’s great divide will want to forget this one quickly, if they are allowed. “An energy gap” is how Scotland manager Gordon Strachan described the difference between the two rivals.Joey Barton and particularly Niko Kranjcar completely failed to get to grips with the speed of the game and spent the afternoon unable to stop the home side’s attacking quartet pouring forward at will. When the interval came the Rangers boss spared the Croatian midfielder any further misery with the 32-year-old flirting dangerously close to a red card as he became increasingly frustrated at his inability to stop Tom Rogic. The Australian international was the star man during his 52 minutes on the field, producing a wonderful Zidane-esque pirouette and constantly finding space between the lines of Rangers’ midfield trio.It was a similar story across the pitch. Kieran Tierney’s rampaging runs down the left forced Kenny Miller to operate as an auxiliary right back to cover for James Tavernier. However the result forced the visitors to focus their attacks solely down Mikael Lustig’s side, a ploy which soon became predictable.Celtic’s Moussa Dembele celebrates his third of the match. SNSThen there was hat-trick hero Moussa Dembele. Handed a starting spot due to Leigh Griffiths’ hamstring injury, the 20-year-old produced a performance which belied his years and demonstrated why his arrival in Glasgow was hailed as such a coup. Having enjoyed a solid if unspectacular start to his Celtic career so far, the Frenchman picked the perfect stage to make his mark with a textbook centre forward display.last_img read more