Steven Gerrard’s Rangers suffered their first loss together at the hands of city rivals Celtic in his first dugout duel with Brendan Rodgers. A stubborn defensive display in the first half was followed by an altogether more expansive game in the second, though ultimately Celtic’s relentless pressure saw them record yet another victory against the Ibrox side.
Celtic and Rangers both faced tough ties in the first round of the Betfred Cup, albeit for different reasons. Celtic turned to a change in style to pull them through a rough period, while Rangers faced a robust Kilmarnock side off the back of a testing European tie against Maribor.
Rangers secured a clash with Russian side Ufa for a Europa League group stage place after their 0-0 draw against Maribor saw them win 3-1 on aggregate. Steven Gerrard’s side faced an even sterner test in Slovenia than they did at Ibrox last week, but a strong defensive display saw them resist the hosts’ much improved attacking threat.
Rangers hosted St Mirren on Match Day 2, looking to gain their first win of the league campaign and capitalise on Celtic’s stumble away to Hearts. Steven Gerrard’s side continued to show refinements to their game, testing the defensive organisation and patient build-up play of the guests.
Kilmarnock inflicted Celtic’s second defeat in as many months at Rugby Park on Saturday. Having only taken over in October, Steve Clarke has already defeated both Rangers and Brendan Rodgers’ side at home, as well as securing respectable draws in Glasgow. Just as significant is the manner in which his team have achieved such success, showing a level of organisation rarely seen in Scotland.
Rangers hosted the first Old Firm game of the season already five points behind cross-city rivals Celtic after six games played. Brendan Rodgers’ side extended their winning run at Ibrox despite a resilient defensive display from the home side, which served to highlight some of the champions’ shortcomings.
The Champions League returned in mid-week with the first legs of the final qualifying round on Tuesday and Wednesday. Unfortunately, the draws pitched together a number of strong teams that could have a big impact on the competition, who would now have to battle over two legs to reach the group stages. Fortunately, this gave PR, AL and JD interesting ties to analyse, and each author summarises the key aspects in the clash they watched.
Celtic completed an unprecedented domestic treble on Saturday, as they defeated Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup final, adding to their League Cup and Premiership titles. Brendan Rodgers’ side went unbeaten in all competitions in Scotland in the Northern Irishman’s first season in charge. Though they managed to win the league at a canter, finishing a staggering thirty points ahead of second-placed Aberdeen, Celtic were forced into a gruelling contest by the Dons to round off their record-breaking season.