Connor Goldson was the unlikely hero as Glasgow Rangers claimed victory in the first Old Firm meeting of the season to move four points clear of Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Both sides were unbeaten coming into this contest, with Rangers leading the way by a single point, although having played a game more.

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Celtic were missing key players such as Odsonne Edouard, Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed, all of whom tested positive for Covid-19 after the international break, while Ryan Christie was self-isolating.

And Rangers took full advantage of their rivals' troubles as they opened the scoring in the ninth-minute, with James Tavernier's free-kick delivery finding Goldson whose glancing header slipped past Celtic goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas.

Mohamed Elyounoussi spurned a gilt-edged opportunity to equalise shortly after, fluffing his lines when through on goal with just Allan McGregor to beat.

Eleven minutes after the restart, centre-half Goldson popped up with his brace to give Steven Gerrard's side breathing space in the tie, poking home from Scott Arfield's cross.

And yet there was still no urgency from Celtic. They actually had more possession than visitors but failed to register a single shot on target in the most passive of performances, as Rangers won back-to-back Old Firm games for the first time in 11 years.

The victory means Rangers remain top of the table with 29 points after 11 games played, with Celtic four behind.

TALKING POINT - Rangers take the spoils in one-sided derby

Celtic had won eight straight games coming into this game, but with so many players unavailable due to Covid-19, Lennon's men lacked their usual creativity. There was hardly going to be a better time for Rangers to come to Celtic Park, and Gerrard's men started the match with belief and always looked favourites after making the early breakthrough.

Full credit to the visitors as they bossed the game, with Ryan Kent and Brandon Barker dominating the midfield and the wing-backs Tavernier and Borna Barisic causing an overload. With so many of his influential players missing, it was a system that Lennon couldn't combat, leaving the Celtic boss to question the heart and desire of his squad.

Although it's very early days, the Old Firm games always have a decisive factor in the title race and after the first derby of the season, it's advantage to Rangers in their bid to halt Celtic's run of nine consecutive league trophies.

MAN OF THE MATCH - Connor Goldson (Rangers)

Not only did he score both goals for Rangers, he was a rock at the heart of the visitors' defence throughout on a memorable day for the 27-year-old.

PLAYER RATINGS

Celtic: Barkas 4, Duffy 5, Ajer 5, Welsh 5, Laxalt 5, Frimpong 5, Brown 5, Klimala 5, Ntcham 5, McGregor 5, Elyounoussi 4.. subs: Taylor N/A, Griffiths 4, Turnbull N/A, Ajeti 5, Rogic 5.

Rangers: McGregor 6, Tavernier 8, Helander 7, Goldson 9, Barisic 8, Kamara 6, Davis 6, Arfield 7, Barker 8, Kent 8, Morelos 7.. subs: Jack 6, Aribo N/A, Itten N/A.

KEY MOMENTS

9'- GOAL! Celtic 0-1 Rangers (Goldson): Rangers have the lead in the Old Firm! Tavernier whips in the most teasing free-kick delivery and Goldson is just onside as he glances his header into the corner of the goal! Celtic's goalkeeper, perhaps, should have kept it out!

16' - Chance for Celtic to equalise! Duffy flights a ball over the top of the Rangers defence for Elyounoussi to run onto, as Goldson fails to deal with it, but the forward lifts it well over McGregor's bar! That was a real opportunity!

54' - GOAL! Celtic 0-2 Rangers (Goldson): Goldson doubles Rangers' advantage! Arfield and Morelos plays a lovely give-and-go with the former crossing for Goldson. His first shot is blocked but he can poke it on the second attempt!

KEY STATS

  • Rangers have won back-to-back League games at Celtic for the first time since 1996-97 under Walter Smith.
  • Connor Goldson scored the second brace of his career after bagging both in Shrewsbury's 2-0 win against Dagenham and Redbridge in April 2015.
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