BRENDAN RODGERS is plotting the fourth downfall of Ibrox opposition this season when the Glasgow foes meet in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden on Saturday,

The Irishman has seen his side pick up six points in two derby encounters at Parkhead and four from two games in Govan with the 100 per cent Premiership record scuppered by a stoppage-time strike in a dramatic 3-3 draw.

In another CQN EXCLUSIVE series, we have been charting Rodgers’ confrontations against Celtic’s city rivals since he kicked off with a convincing 5-1 thumping over Mark Warburton’s shell-shocked side in the east end of Glasgow in September 2016.

Today, we look back at the thrilling six-goal stalemate in Govan in April.

HANDS UP IF YOU’RE HAPPY…Brendan Rodgers hails one of Celtic’s three goals at Ibrox in April.

April 7, 2024: Premiership:

Rangers 3 (Tavernier pen, Sima, Matondo), CELTIC 3 (Maeda, O’Riley pen, Idah)

THERE was a mixture of delight and despair for the champions in a dramatic six-goal stalemate at Ibrox.

Celtic saw a stoppage-time strike from Rabbi Matondo snatch away victory in a frantic finale to a match in which the visitors had led twice.

Goals from Daizen Maeda and Matt O’Riley, with a penalty-kick, had Brendan Rodgers’ men 2-0 ahead at the interval, but they allowed their opponents back into the contest after the turnaround and forfeited two points.

Ten minutes into the second-half, James Tavernier pulled one back with a penalty-kick after an intervention from VAR and and it remained that way until Abdallah Sima levelled with a deflection off Callum McGregor in the 86th minute.

Moments later, substitute Paulo Bernardo drove forward and picked out Adam Idah with a neat pass. The Republic of Ireland international, who had replaced Kyogo Furuhashi, turned inside John Souttar and Dujon Sterling to fire a low drive past the flummoxed Jack Butland.

PICK IT OUT…Daizen Maeda races away in triumph after his lightning strike at Ibrox.

That looked like being the goal to get the job done, but three minutes into the eight minutes of added-on time, some atrocious defending from Yang Hyun-jun allowed Motondo to come in from the left onto his strong right foot.

As expected, the winger thundered in a drive that swept high past the helpless Joe Hart. He really should have been denied that goalscoring opportunity by the South Korean who had come on for Nicolas Kuhn in the 65th minute.

The hosts took the kick-off, but, remarkably, found themselves a goal behind after exactly 21 SECONDS!

It was a lightning-swift break that exposed James Tavernier when he was slow to react to a long ball downfield from Joe Hart.

No immediate danger threatened, but the determined Maeda refused to give up the chase and the Ibrox skipper paid a heavy price when he dallied in his clearance.

The defender attempted to whip the ball to safety, but only succeeded in thumping his effort against the Japanese speedster and the ricochet zipped past the stranded Butland and into the far left-hand corner of the net.

The ground was bathed in silence as the Hoops attacker whooped with joy before his team-mates joined in the celebrations.

MATT FINISH…nice and easy does it as Matt O’Riley dinks his penalty-kick past the diving Jack Butland.

In the 33rd minute, the champions were awarded a VAR-assisted penalty-kick when it was clear Connor Goldson has used his right elbow to clear a right-wing cross from Kuhn.

Referee John Beaton missed the offence, but Nick Walsh, the man in front of the multi-screens, instructed his colleague to review the incident.

Images proved conclusively that there was contact with an illegal part of the centre-back’s arm and there was no option but to point to the spot.

O’Riley was the calmest man in the vicinity as he stepped up to take the award and nonchalantly flick the ball past Butland who dived to his left as the effort sailed down the middle.

Ten minutes into the second-half, the hosts were awarded a spot-kick after VAR intervened again and Alistair Johnston was penalised for a challenge on the diving Fabio Silva.

Tavernier proved once again that partice makes perfect with a drive into the roof of Hart’s net.

In the 65th minute, Rodgers made a double substitution when he took off the tiring Reo Hatate and Kuhn and put on skipper McGregor and Yang.

GOVAN GLEE…Adam Idah disappears from view as he is submerged by joyous Brendan Rodgers, Alistair Johnston and Liam Scales after hitting Celtic’s third goal at Ibrox.

Four minutes later, Idah joined the action with Kyogo being withdrawn

In the 82nd minute Paulo Bernardo replaced O’Riley, but Rodgers’ men were reeling five minutes later when McGregor, of all people, was wayward with a crossfield pass that set off a home attack.

Sterling sent a ball into the box, Liam Scales headed clear, but the ball fell to Sima who thrashed an attempt at goal.

McGregor, attempting to atone for his mistake, tried to block the shot, but only succeeded getting a nick on the ball to leave Hart helpless.

Then came Idah’s instant response with Matondo, alas, allowed the chance to thrash in the leveller as the clock ticked down.

TEAM: Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor; Iwata, O’Riley (sub: Bernardo 82), Hatate (sub: McGregor 65); Kuhn (sub: Yang 65), Kyogo (sub: Idah 69) and Maeda.

TOMORROW: Don’t miss Rodgers v Rangers: Parts Nine and Ten – only in your champion CQN.


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