Rangers cruise past depleted Celtic to move clear at top of Scottish Premiership

Rangers cruise past depleted Celtic to move clear at top of Scottish Premiership
Rangers' Connor Goldson scores their second goal against the Celtics on Oct. 17, 2020. (REUTERS/Russell Cheyne)
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Updated 18 October 2020

Rangers cruise past depleted Celtic to move clear at top of Scottish Premiership

Rangers cruise past depleted Celtic to move clear at top of Scottish Premiership
  • Celtic were without star striker Odsonne Edouard, Nir Bitton and Hatem Elhamed due to Covid infections, while Ryan Christie missed out as he was forced to self-isolate

GLASGOW, Scotland: Rangers beat a coronavirus-depleted Celtic side 2-0 at Celtic Park on Saturday to move four points clear of their bitter rivals at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Two goals from Connor Goldson proved enough for Steven Gerrard’s men, who are desperate to stop their bitter rivals winning a record-breaking 10th consecutive title.
In the first Old Firm derby without fans, Goldson headed in James Tavernier’s free-kick in the ninth minute and tapped in from close range in the second half as Rangers recorded back-to-back wins at Celtic Park for the first time since 1995.
It was a first domestic defeat since the last clash between the Glasgow giants in December for Neil Lennon’s men, who have a game in hand over Rangers with a long title fight still to come.
Celtic were without star striker Odsonne Edouard, Nir Bitton and Hatem Elhamed due to Covid infections, while Ryan Christie missed out as he was forced to self-isolate for being a close contact of Southampton’s Stuart Armstrong, who also tested positive, while on international duty with Scotland.
But Gerrard said that took nothing away from a dominant performance by his side.
“We’ve put in a really controlled, professional performance,” Gerrard told Sky Sports. “I don’t think we were at our fluent best but we’ve come here and controlled the game with and without the ball.”
“We could maybe have scored more,” he added. “There will be no getting carried away. We need to remain humble.”
Rangers got the start they wanted when Goldson escaped his markers from Tavernier’s searching free-kick and flashed a header past goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas.
Mohamed Elyounoussi wasted a good chance to level for Celtic but the hosts failed to manage a shot on target for the first time since 2009 in a league match.
Lennon pointed to his lack of options with James Forrest also out injured, while Albian Ajeti and Leigh Griffiths were not match fit.
“We had Ajeti not fully fit, Griffiths not fully fit, Edouard out,” said Lennon. “That’s three mainline strikers not able to start.
“But I felt we created good enough chances first half to score. Rangers defended their box pretty well today and that was the difference in terms of the psychology of the goals.
“We were pretty decimated with the Covid and the injuries but I felt we had a strong enough team out.”
Earlier, the Scottish league said it would investigate after St. Mirren’s latest positive virus test led to the postponement of their clash with Motherwell.
Two players had already tested positive earlier this week, with a third forced into self-isolation.
A further positive test saw more players instructed to go into self-isolation and the club told the Scottish Professional Football League that they could not fulfil their Premiership fixture.


DeChambeau: Power gives him advantage for Saudi International

DeChambeau: Power gives him advantage for Saudi International
Updated 19 January 2021

DeChambeau: Power gives him advantage for Saudi International

DeChambeau: Power gives him advantage for Saudi International
  • Physically transformed 2020 US Open champion relishing head-to-head with World No. 1 Dustin Johnson

JEDDAH: Big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau believes the length of Royal Greens Golf & Country Club’s tee-to-green puts him in prime position to pip world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and claim victory at next month’s Saudi International.

The 2020 US Open champion, famed worldwide for his colossal tee shots, the longest in Tour history, is King Abdullah Economic City-bound for his second crack at taking the Saudi crown that alluded him in 2019.

He was pipped to the title by Johnson, who returns alongside the biggest names in golf for the third annual hosting of the European Tour event next month.

However, 27-year-old DeChambeau heads to the Kingdom a different golfer this year, having not only transformed his physique and game to out-drive all other professional players, but as a Major champion, after clinching the US Open back in September.

He believes these two factors could prove critical in his quest for first place in two weeks’ time.

He said: “I feel like I have an even better advantage on the golf course because it is a bit of a bomber’s paradise, and I love that opportunity.

“When I played there, I finished sixth. I have a lot of great memories about the golf course and the character of the holes and being on the Red Sea, it was pretty unique and something that I want to experience again.

“I will tell you, though, that hitting it far there will be an advantage with some of the par 5s and I think it will fit me well, a lot better than the other golf courses.”

Much of the build-up around November’s delayed hosting of the Masters was focused on DeChambeau and how the Augusta course suited his big-hitting style of play.

However, it was to be his 2018 Ryder Cup teammate Johnson who eventually came out on top, further cementing his position as the world’s best. The fact that he will be teeing off against “DJ” next month is something that only adds to the excitement for DeChambeau, as he continues on his own mission to one day achieve top spot in World Golf rankings.

“Having a world No. 1 playing puts a little fire in my belly,” said DeChambeau. “I want to go over there and play and beat him. I was fortunate enough to clip him by one or two in Kapalua and if I keep doing that, if I keep beating him in every event, eventually the tables will turn.”

In his quest to be the world’s best, DeChambeau has famously reworked his entire game — and physique. In 2020 alone he gained 40 pounds to build his strength, and as a result extended his length off the tee by anywhere from 30 to 70 yards.

Although the tournament will be held without fans due to coronavirus disease restrictions, it will be shown live on KSA Sports, and DeChambeau is gearing up to show the Kingdom exactly what he has been working towards.