MARK WILSON got the only goal in the Scottish Cup quarter-final replay to propel Celtic towards the last four.
However, the rare strike from the right-back was almost overshadowed in the aftermath of one of the most explosive Glasgow derbies in recent years.
Parkhead was in turmoil as overworked referee Calum Murray red-carded THREE Rangers players and Neil Lennon and Ally McCoist, the Ibrox side’s assistant boss, had a heated exchange on the touchline at full-time.
It was bedlam all the way in the east end of Glasgow in a rollicking, bad-tempered affair on March 2 2011, in which punters that backed the overs on cards for their forfeitable (= non sticky) bonus would have cashed in, following the 2-2 draw at Ibrox in the first encounter.
DELIGHT AND DESPAIR…Mark Wilson races away in joy after netting the winner with the Ibrox defence in disarray.
Steven Whittaker was the first Gers offender to see red in the 35th minute after picking up his second booking for a dreadful foul on Emilio Izaguirre. The defender had been yellow-carded seven minutes earlier for a bad challenge on Ki Sung-Yeung.
El Hadj Diouf and Hoops boss Lennon had a touchline confrontation which earned the controversial forward a booking and which threatened to plunge the game in to further disorder. Match official Murray then spoke to McCoist and Lennon after an exchange of words between the dug-outs – and it was a spat that would resume later.
There was another fracas between Hoops’ No.2 Johan Mjallby and Gers defender Kyle Bartley as the players made their way up the tunnel at the interval, with Diouf involved again.
VERBAL VOLLEY…El Hadj Diouf and Neil Lennon exhange words as Alan Thompson intervenes.
Wilson struck three minutes after the break after Izaguirre’s deep cross from the left found his fellow full-back at the far side of the box and his first shot was headed off the line by Sasa Papac. The ball rebounded to the one-time Scotland international and his second effort zeroed in on its target.
The game became increasingly antagonistic and Madjid Bougherra was cautioned for a foul on Gary Hooper which left the striker requiring treatment. The Parkhead side were in complete control and in the 63rd minute Georgios Samaras crashed a low drive off Allan McGregor’s left-hand post.
In stoppage time, Bougherra was dismissed after a wayward foul on Kris Commons – and there was more mayhem to come. After the final whistle Lennon and McCoist had to be separated before Diouf received a second yellow and a subsequent red after approaching referee Murray.
FACE TO FACE…Neil Lennon and Ally McCoist get involved in a touchline fracas.
Lennon elected not to speak to the media, but coach Alan Thompson said: “Things are flying high at the end of the game in terms of tempers and Neil just thought it was better if he left it tonight.
“We tried to keep playing, we tried to play the right way. I know people will say there were red cards and nine yellow cards.
“We got three yellow cards, so we’re delighted with the way the lads showed their discipline and kept trying to plug away and get goals.
“I think at times it got niggly. We re-iterated to the players before the game, ‘we need to keep our discipline, we need to keep 11 players on the pitch, if anyone’s going to lose it, let them lose it.”
THE COMMONS TOUCH…Celtic midfielder Kris Commons steers the Hoops’ first goal past Allan McGregor.
BY THE LEFT…Scott Brown curls in the second goal while El Hadj Diouf gets a close-up view.
THE BROONY…Celtic skipper Scott Brown celebrates his goal with El Hadj Diouf clearly unimpressed.
The first game ended all-square with four goals being shared and both teams reduced to 10 men.
Jamie Ness got the opener in the third minute, but Commons, making his Old Firm debut, levelled 12 minutes later. Whittaker restored the home side’s advantage from the penalty spot after Hoops keeper Fraser Forster had been sent off after being found guilty of upending Steven Naismith in the box.
Celtic refused to be beaten, though, and skipper Scott Brown equalised in the 64th minute before Naismith, booked in the first-half for a foul on Wilson, was banished for taking an obvious dive in the visitors’ penalty area.
And there was a lot more to follow in the replay!
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Rangers v Celtic this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.