Rangers stopped Celtic celebrating at Ibrox but Steven Gerrard’s side can have a 55 party at Parkhead

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RANGERS ensured there would be no Celtic celebrations at Ibrox. Now they have the chance to party at Parkhead as Steven Gerrard closes in on the Premiership title.

It is nine years since Neil Lennon took his side across the city with their sights set on the silverware. Celtic would eventually get their medals, but they were denied an opportunity to gloat as Rangers provided one last stand against their Old Firm rivals.

On a remarkable afternoon, goals from Sone Aluko, Andy Little and Lee Wallace won it for the Gers. Cha Du-Ri, Victor Wanyama and Carlos Bocanegra would see red, while Scott Brown and Thomas Rogne netted late and in vain.

Rangers denied Celtic the chance to confirm the league title at Ibrox back in 2012

The first title on their way to nine was wrapped up just days later by Celtic. There will be no ten, though, as Gerrard prepares to lead the Light Blues to 55 in a matter of weeks.

The crowning moment could well come at the home of their fiercest rivals. Minds will naturally be cast back to 2012 and Little rightly savours the occasion to this day.

“At the time, you would never have realised the significance of that game and it wasn’t until the Ryan Jack goal at Ibrox that Rangers would beat Celtic again in a league game,” Little told and Times Sport. “You would never have expected that Rangers fans would wait so long for it to happen again.

READ: Steven Gerrard: We can’t allow ourselves to think the Premiership title race is over

“At the time, there was a real attitude of defiance, a siege mentality if you like. Everyone was against us and we needed to stick together and try and bring some joy, I suppose, to the fans who had gone through a horrible few weeks since the administration was announced.

Rangers denied Celtic the chance to confirm the league title at Ibrox back in 2012

“From a personal point of view, I was getting regular games and I felt part of the first team squad so to get an opportunity to come into an Old Firm game was great. I had a brief taste of one before, but to come on and then for what happened to happen was incredible.

“Those 15, 20 seconds were incredible and I genuinely wish I could relive that moment and that time I had on the pitch and that 24 hours again and again.

“In my 31 years, if there was one thing I could relive it would be that moment. It was just amazing.

“I appreciate that it only delayed the celebrations for the green side of Glasgow, but that one day meant an awful lot to a lot of people, especially to me. The fact that we still talk about it today shows you how much it meant.”

In the grand scheme of things, the destination of the top flight title was largely irrelevant to Rangers in those turbulent days, weeks and months as fans feared for the very future of their club.

Rangers denied Celtic the chance to confirm the league title at Ibrox back in 2012

Boss Ally McCoist had to somehow rally his troops in the face of adversity. The final whistle sparked scenes that are emotional to watch even now as Rangers stood tall, proud and victorious on Old Firm day.

Little said: “We definitely talked about it, it was definitely one of the motivations for us. You don’t need much motivation going into an Old Firm game but it was definitely talked about as players.

“When you consider the staff that we had at the time, it was full of Rangers legends who had some incredible experiences with the club over the years and they knew how difficult and upsetting that would be for fans.

 

💙 OLD FIRM 💚
“This is his day, this is their day!”
Our next goal comes from the last time @RangersFC recorded a home victory over @CelticFC – stopping the visitors winning the title at Ibrox in the process. Lee Wallace grabbed the 3rd in a 3-2 victory in March 2012. pic.twitter.com/djwdqZ0AZg
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) December 28, 2018

 

“They knew the importance even more than the players and they got it through to us. On the day, we were excellent.

“There was a blemish a bit at the end conceding a couple of late ones but for 85 or so minutes we were on the money. There was definitely a motivation amongst the players not to let them have a party at our home.”

From the mazy run and clinical finish from Aluko to the famous breakaway goal from Wallace, the memories are as clear as ever for the supporters that rocked Ibrox or that watched on from afar.

Rangers denied Celtic the chance to confirm the league title at Ibrox back in 2012

Little would score from a couple of yards out just seconds after replacing Aluko. It wasn’t a win that changed the course of the title race, but it was one which went down in history for its own unique reasons.

“I don’t think the celebrations were any bigger just because we stopped it,” he said. “I think it was more a relief than we had stopped it.

“It wasn’t a case of ‘let’s go out and celebrate an Old Firm win’ because we knew how far away we were in the league and that Celtic would be champions.

 

⚽⏩| @RangersFC’s last league win over @CelticFC came in 2012, as they defeated them 3-2 at Ibrox, with goals from Aluko, Little and Wallace! pic.twitter.com/gxjp3tsXfI
— SPFL (@spfl) December 29, 2017

 

“We weren’t celebrating the way you would normally celebrate an Old Firm win because we knew that the league was beyond us. It was just a massive relief and the fans just really appreciated the players’ efforts on that day.

“It had been a difficult time for everyone and it certainly wasn’t the fault of the players that Rangers found themselves in that position.

“This time around, it is the fault of the players really when you think about the Celtic team and squad not turning up this year. There is a different feeling there, I would say, if you were to compare the two.

Rangers denied Celtic the chance to confirm the league title at Ibrox back in 2012

“Rangers fans and players were extremely united at that time. Players were taking wage cuts and there was a real feeling of togetherness within the club so it was a relief for everyone that we stopped it happening that day.

“If you were to compare the two, there certainly isn’t that feeling of togetherness right now at Celtic Park. I don’t see them getting a result, I just don’t see it happening, and that is largely down to that lack of unity at the club right now.”

It would be somewhat fitting if Rangers could deny Celtic at Ibrox and then turn the tables and win at Parkhead to scale the heights after hitting the depths of despair.

READ: Rangers hero assumes Davie Weir leadership role to inspire Steven Gerrard’s side to title glory

The Gers need just seven points to clinch title 55. If Livingston and St Mirren can be overcome, that long-awaited and sought after moment could come on derby day and at the home of their Old Firm rivals.

Little said: “I think it is certainly shaping up to be memorable and a big, big day if it happens that way. But, honestly, the majority of the players and the manager, I really don’t think they will mind.

“They are extremely proud of their record so far this season and I think if you offered them a draw to win the title a lot of them would say ‘no, we want to go and win’ and I am sure they will tell you that.

 

🎥 REACTION: Steven Gerrard spoke to @RangersTV after today’s 4-1 victory against Dundee United. pic.twitter.com/4a0L1ZNIhK
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) February 21, 2021

 

“There is a pride amongst this team and the performances and stats this season are incredible and they want to win games and will want to win at Parkhead.

“There are certain players in the squad that will understand better than others the significance of going and winning a title at the home of their greatest rivals. I think there are some players that will understand that a lot more and they will definitely want that.”

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