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.
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.
Linfield hosted Celtic at Windsor Park for the first leg of their Champions League second round qualifier, in a game that will be remembered more for events off the pitch than on it. With the match moved to Friday evening as opposed to the originally scheduled Wednesday night to avoid the Glasgow side’s playing in Belfast coinciding with the ‘Twelfth’, an already unusual scenario was only compounded by Celtic’s uncharacteristically poor play in possession, albeit in part down to the home side’s good defensive organisation.
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.