The Only Way is Up for Ledley & The Bhoys

The “Hail” force winds in the East End of Glasgow were enough to knock Rangers from their lofty perch last night as Celtic showed their title credentials in the second Glasgow Derby of the season.

Fans and pundits alike were predicting a revenge mission of some stature for the Bhoys following their four two defeat earlier in the season, but the conditions were not suited for a footballing lesson – first things first, get the three points and regain your position. With at least two further encounters due for 2012, Neil Lennon’s team are now title favourites and this time, you would be deluded for arguing with the bookies odds.

Celtic, the good guys, took the game to their visitors – the evil demons, and were mounting pressure on Allan McGregor’s goal mouth before the first potential talking point of the game. Rangers from nowhere, had the ball over the line – it stopped short of the net thanks to a magnificent scoop from Fraser Forster but Wallace’s’ header should have been the opener – if we went over wronged decisions for Celtic in previous games in this fixture though, a candle and Horlicks would be required for the haul. In the second half even, a flag from the linesman stopped the onside Gary Hooper from adding to the woes of Ally McCoist. The Celtic manager, confident in his number eighty-rights ability called it “one apiece” when talking in the studio post-match about the decision.

The Bhoys in green deservedly swung the encounter in their favour from a majestic Mulgrew cross which met the head of Joseph Ledley ten minutes after the restart. Just as the first half had started, Celtic pinned their rivals on the back foot and kept jabbing away till the knockout blow – the Welsh star meeting the ball with a willing determination that took the festive stuffing out of Rangers. A team including Aluko, Bartley, Bocanegra and Wallace should never have really been heading for the New Year in top spot anyway – a disjointed mis-match lacking any real quality against the thoughtful, battling skills & prowess of Kayal, Forrest, Samaras and Wanyama to name but a few – the Hoops are now a youthful, energetic side with a winning momentum & mentality along with a fiercely strong hunger for success.

The depth of quality and lack of it on the Rangers bench was there for all to see when Sally called for the cavalry – Maurice Edu & David Healy. The latter was fortunate to only see yellow moments later for a scythe on James Forrest which took the young Scot on the knee in full flight and left him on the touchline in agony, a desperate and despicable act from an aged nobody who could only watch as Celtic ran out victors and completed a seventeen point swing in league points in their favour since the fifth day of November – Jelavic deduced from that moment that Rangers were unlikely to be caught, he will be scratching his head at how swiftly and nonchalantly Neil Lennon and his squad have turned the deficit around to be top going into the New Year – the year of the thunder.

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