Old Firm From Glasgow – Samaras Shoots Celtic Past Rangers


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Scotland international DAVID WEIR (3), the Rangers’ 40-year-old captain, cannot outrun Celtic’s Greece World Cup winger GEORGIOS SAMARAS — who scored 10 goals in 32 league games last season but had none in the Scottish top flight heading into this latest edition of the intense Glasgow intra-city rivalry — during the 390th edition of the Old Firm Derby at Ibrox Stadium on the south bank of the River Clyde. (Chris Clark/AP)
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HAPPY NEW YEAR to the MEN IN HOOPS, indeed!

Two second half goals from out-of-form Greece World Cup winger GEORGIOS SAMARAS carried visting CELTIC to a vital 2-0 shutout victory over Glasgow cross-town, bitter arch-rivals RANGERS in the 390th installment of the OLD FIRM DERBY at Ibrox Stadium from the capital city of Scotland.

Rangers, who had won the first meeting of this season with Celtic 3-1 at Parkhead on the strength of a hat trick from Scotland international striker KENNY SMITH, might have had the better of play over the opening 45 minutes but could neither consistently nor seriously threaten The Bhoys’ English backstop FRASER FORSTER.

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Slovakia World Cup winger VLADIMIR WEISS, the 21-year-old out on loan from English Premier League side Manchester City who has scored three goals for Rangers in the Scottish top flight thus far this season, hurdles the sliding tackle of Celtic’s former Scotland U-21 international fullback MARK WILSON in just another run-of-the-mill Old Firm Derby at Ibrox Stadium. (Russell Cheyne/Reuters)
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The pivotal moment of the match popped up just past the hour.

Celtic midfielder JOE LEDLEY intercepted a Rangers pass in his own defensive third and took a quick look upfield. Noting the position of Samaras and his two markers, the Wales international immediately launched a Route One Football for the Greek winger to chase. Clearly at a loss for pace was Rangers’ Algeria World Cup defender MADJID BOUGHERRA and 40-year-old captain DAVID WEIR.

Scotland international goalkeeper ALLAN MCGREGOR, to compound problems, made a tremendous error with judgment and decided to leave the Rangers’ box in a desperate bid to beat Samaras to Ledley’s ball. The Greek winger, taken off on Boxing Day and dropped for Celtic’s last match, easily rounded McGregor with a deft first touch and slotted home from a relatively stiff angle. Samaras, of course, had not scored even a single Scottish Premier League goal all season coming into this Old Firm Derby.

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With 390th Old Firm Derby Man of the Match — Greece World Cup winger GEORGIOS SAMARAS (9) — watching in the background for Celtic, 22-year-old Israel international midfielder BIRAM KAYAL, purchased by the Glasgow club from FC Maccabi Haifa for 1.8 million English pounds this past summer, sticks in a leg to challenge Rangers’ 32-year-old Scotland international midfielder LEE MCCULLOCH, who spent six-plus years in the north of England with Wigan Athletic, at Ibrox Stadium. (Chris Clark/AP)
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Samaras, who had scored 25 goals in the Scottish Premier League the past two seasons combined prior to the 2010-11 campaign, added a second in the first Old Firm Derby of 2011 from the penalty spot in the 69th minute; the 25-year-old Greek winger took the spot kick, himself, after being dumped by the Algerian defender Bougherra on the edge of the box.

A huge win away from home over the dreaded arch-rivals for Celtic, who were playing without suspended captain SCOTT BROWN. Sweden international FREDDIE LJUNGERG, signed the Glasgow outfit during the week on a free transfer from Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire, was sick and did not even make the bench for The Bhoys. Nevertheless, Celtic extend their lead in the Scottish standings to four points for manager NEIL LENNON.

The only good news the Old Firm Derby’s losing manager, WALTER SMITH — the Rangers still have two full games in hand on their long-time nemesis.

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(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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(Chris Clark/AP)
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(Russell Cheyne/Reuters)
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(David Moir/Reuters)
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(Russell Cheyne/Reuters)
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(David Moir/Reuters)
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(David Moir/Reuters)
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(Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)
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(Russell Cheyne/Reuters)
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Celtic players including Israel international midfielder BIRAM KAYAL (33), captain and Sweden international defender DANIEL MAJSTOROVIC (5), Norway U-21 international defender THOMAS ROGNE (25), Wales international midfielder JOE LEDLEY (16), Northern Ireland international winger NIALL MCGINN (14) and Scotland U-21 international winger JAMES FORREST (49) celebrate Celtic’s 141st all-time victory over fierce arch-rival Rangers after the 390th playing of the Old Firm Derby at Ibrox Stadium on the south bank of the River Clyde in the capital city of Scotland. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

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