RODGERS v RANGERS: Part Two

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BRENDAN RODGERS is preparing Celtic for Saturday’s Scottish Cup Final against Philippe Clement’s Ibrox side at Hampden.

It will be the Irishman’s fifth derby encounter since returning to the champions in June last year.

Rodgers has won three and drawn the other all-Glasgow duel – victory snatched by a stoppage-time equaliser – as he gets ready to bring the curtain down on a memorable second coming at Parkhead.

In his first stint, the Hoops gaffer enjoyed phenomenal success between May 2016 and February 2019.

Rodgers faced Celtic’s city foes on 13 occasions and emerged victorious 10 times while drawing two and losing only one.

In another CQN EXCLUSIVE series, we look back at the manager’s previous confrontations with the Ibrox club.

The 51-year-old team chief got off to a dream start with a 5-1 debut hammering of Mark Warburton’s team in September 2016 and followed up with a 1-0 League Cup semi-final success and a 2-1 Hogmanay away victory, as we highlighted  earlier today.

Next up, CQN puts the spotlight on the following three clashes.

BY THE RIGHT…Celtic scorer Stuart Armstrong fires over a cross with Ibrox striker Martyn Waghorn challenging.

March 12, 2017: Premiership:

CELTIC 1 (Armstrong), Rangers 1 (Hill)

A GOAL three minutes from time by veteran centre-back Clint Hill silenced Celtic Park on a cold, still afternoon where two points were carelessly thrown away.

The Hoops were coasting with a 35th-minute drive from Stuart Armstrong, who had earlier clattered a free-kick off an upright, and looking to add to the scoreline.

However, disaster struck with the clock ticking down when the hosts’ rearguard fell asleep and allowed on-loan Bournemouth midfielder Emerson Hyndman a clear shot at goal. His fiercely-hit effort was pushed away by Craig Gordon, but, unfortunately, the ricochet fell kindly for the 38-year-old defender who forced the ball home from close range.

The game ended on a controversial note when referee Bobby Madden denied the Hoops a stonewall penalty-kick after Hill flattened Leigh Griffiths from behind just as the striker was about to pull the trigger on what would have certainly been the winner.

Brendan Rodgers sighed: “It was a clear-cut penalty-kick. Probably everyone has seen it apart from the referee.”

TEAM: Gordon; Lustig, Boyata, Sviatchenko, Tierney; Brown, Bitton (sub: McGregor); Forrest (sub: Roberts), Armstrong (sub: Griffiths), Sinclair; Dembele.

BY THE LEFT…Callum McGregor slides in Celtic’s opener in the Scottish Cup semi-final victory.

April 23: Scottish Cup semi-final: 

CELTIC 2 (McGregor, Sinclair pen), Rangers 0

BRENDAN RODGERS’ men were on their way to a Scottish Cup Final meeting with Aberdeen after only 11 minutes of a one-way last-four confrontation at Hampden.

Portuguese coach Pedro Caixinha was in charge of the Ibrox side for the first time in a Glasgow derby and it wasn’t a pleasant experience for the new man.

With effortless and nonchalant ease, Callum McGregor opened the scoring early in the contest with an exquisite low shot that left keeper Wes Foderingham dumbfounded as it rolled towards its destination.

It was all over three minutes into the second-half when Leigh Griffiths, on for hamstring victim Moussa Dembele, was bowled over by the frantic lunge from James Tavernier.

ON THE SPOT…Scott Sinclair fires in No.2 with James Tavernier looking on.

Referee Willie Collum had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Scott Sinclair did the needful with an accurate sweep into the corner.

It’s in the history books now that Tom Rogic tiptoed his way through the Dons defence to slide the silverware winner past Joe Lewis on May 27 2017 as Rodgers enjoyed a clean sweep of domestic trophies in his debut campaign.

The feat placed the Northern Irishman in the Celtic Hall of Fame alongside the legendary Jock Stein (1966/67 and 1968/69) and Martin O’Neill (2000/01) to have achieved all three honours in one season.

TEAM: Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney; Brown, Armstrong; Roberts (sub: Forrest), McGregor (sub: Rogic), Sinclair; Dembele (sub: Griffiths).

HAIL, HAIL…Brendan Rodgers acknowledges the Celtic fans.

April 29: Premiership:

Rangers 1 (Miller), CELTIC 5 (Sinclair pen, Griffiths, McGregor, Boyata, Lustig)

CELTIC ruthlessly swept their opponents away as they fired in five goals at Ibrox for the first time ever.

The hosts had no answer as they were pulverised into submission as the Hoops lined up to put the ball behind the overworked and shell-shocked Wes Foderingham.

Scott Sinclair got the show on the road with a seventh-minute spot-kick after Patrick Roberts had been sent sprawling.

Eleven minutes later, Leigh Griffiths sent a vicious effort crashing high into the net. The livewire frontman then smashed one off the face of the crossbar before Callum McGregor angled in No.3 shortly after the turnaround.

ROARING SUCCESS…Kieran Tierney enjoys the moment alongside team-mates Jozo Simunovic, Scott Sinclair and Scott Brown after another triumph over Ibrox opposition.

Dedryck Boyata thumped in a close-range header from a Griffiths right-wing free-kick for the fourth. Nine minutes from the end, Kenny Miller poked a consolation goal beyond Craig Gordon which stirred the visitors into instant retaliation.

Mikael Lustig brought the house down with an extraordinary solo goal as he careered past startled home defenders before finishing with an artistry any self-respecting world-class striker would envy.

TEAM: Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney; Brown (sub: Kouassi), Armstrong (sub: Rogic); Roberts (sub: Forrest), McGregor, Sinclair; Griffiths.

*TOMORROW: Don’t miss Rodgers v Rangers: Parts Three and Four – only in your champion CQN.

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