Some thoughts on the 0-0 draw between Rangers and Celtic on Sunday.
1. A poor first-half followed by a second period which, although lacking in quality, provided plenty of goalscoring opportunities. The standard of passing however, was truly awful.
2. Nikica Jelavic was again a threat, particularly during the opening 45 minutes. He continues to improve and will be a key player for Rangers in the years ahead. Kyle Lafferty was Jelavic’s partner up front and as is often the case with Lafferty, he made a bright start before fading. During his Ibrox career Lafferty has never come close to justifying his transfer fee – the talent is there, he just keeps it well hidden.
3. Lafferty had Rangers’ best opportunity of the match, and he really should have buried his header after getting ahead of Charlie Mulgrew. Despite having several clear chances, Rangers rarely tested Fraser Forster.
4. Maurice Edu has plenty to offer but his confidence is so low that the end of the season cannot come quick enough. An awful performance.
5. In the opening exchanges Celtic looked nervy, perhaps realising what a win would mean. They only really came into the game after the enforced introduction of Kris Commons, who became the link between midfield and attack. Why he wasn’t included in the starting line-up, is anybody’s guess. Scott Brown and Beram Kayal were more influential after the break.
6. Lennon was right to publicly defend Georgios Samaras after the penalty-miss. However, the striker is now starting to live off his two goals at Ibrox in January. Anthony Stokes looked more menacing in the short time he was on the field, though he was crazy to take the dive that lead to a yellow card – there appeared to be a clear shot at goal.
7. The penalty award was soft, but they are often given. The Joe Ledley incident meanwhile, wasn’t a spot-kick as Steven Whittaker had pretty much no time to move out of the way.
8. Once again Allan McGregor showed his class, with two outstanding saves to deny Majstorovic and Izaguirre. Will a Rangers takeover allow them to keep him at the club?
9. Should they maintain their goal difference advantage, Celtic need four wins and a draw to clinch the title. The finishing line is in sight, and Celtic should cross it first. Victory in their next two games, against Dundee United and Inverness CT, would be massive steps towards doing just that.
10. That’s enough Old Firm games for one season.