Leon Balogun and Joe Aribo were unsung heroes for Steven Gerrard’s side as they secured a 1-0 victory over their arch-rivals
Nigeria’s duo of Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun played crucial roles to help Rangers secure a 1-0 victory over Celtic in the first leg of the Old Firm derby.
Rangers went into the game as favourites, as they have won four of the last five meetings, including both legs last season.
But with the recent unimpressive form of Rangers, Celtic went into the game with optimism. Celtic started the game the better of the two sides, bossing the game from midfield and making it hard for the likes of Aribo to operate.
However, they hardly troubled McCrorie in goal for Rangers.
Aribo played from the right side of midfield, and whenever he got the ball, he was direct with the play and was always ready to push the ball up front to Roofe or Morelos in the Rangers attack.
The Champions played more efficient football as despite forfeiting the bulk of the possession to Celtic, they created more chances, albeit they had a shot on target.
The second half was quite different, as both sides were more direct with their play. It paid off for Rangers in the 66th minute as Filip Helander headed in a pinpoint cross from Borna Barisic to put Rangers in front.
After the goal, Celtic increased their tenacity, but Rangers were water-tight and didn’t let them through. Balogun, who started from right-back, made four tackles and seven clearances to help them preserve their clean sheet.
The victory takes Rangers to third place, while Celtic remain 6th