It seems unusual to point to critical moments in a championship race in January where Rangers already had a 16-point advantage before this Old Firm game kicked off.
Still, the win of Steven Gerrard’s team here – not least the sending off of Nir Bitton – definitely eliminates any lingering possibility of a tenth straight title for Celtic.
A row of names. There are three Celtic games in hand, but now they need snooker, or more precisely, an unlikely implosion of the Rangers.
Until Bitton scored the winning goal just after the hour mark, Celtic were the better side. The Israeli pulled him down as the previously unsuccessful Alfredo Morelos chased a long ball just outside the angle of the penalty area. When Bobby Madden was given the red card, Neil Lennon and his Celtic players did not have any complaints.
One could not help feeling that, at that moment, Celtic’s hopes of winning the championship were shattered.
From then on, Rangers took over, although they were fortunate with their goal.
Joe Aribo easily deflected a corner from James Tavernier before the ball was put over his shoulder and into the net by Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor.
During the first half, Celtic had become dominant.
Allan McGregor saved from Odsonne Edouard and from Leigh Griffiths excellently.
Before Bitton missed the goal with a header from a David Turnbull corner, McGregor and Griffiths fired wide.
Celtic seemed like the team that desperately wanted to win this game, but when you’re not taking your chances, it’s risky.
The second half, right before Bitton’s miss, was more.
With the only very clear chance before Morelos was sent off, Leon Balogun superbly blocked Edouard’s shot.
The game tilted absolutely in favour of Rangers in the following time. The defense, which had conceded just five league goals during the season, never seemed to have been broken, except though Shane Duffy had been brought on as Celtic’s extra striker. Gerrard has a hand and a league trophy with four fingers on it.