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Champions League: Celtic make Old Firm statement ahead of Real Madrid

An overwhelming win against bitter rivals Rangers was the perfect preparation three days ahead of welcoming Los Blancos.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 03: David Turnbull of Celtic celebrates with teammates after scoring their team's fourth goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Rangers FC at Celtic Park Stadium on September 03, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Ian MacNicolGetty

“Bring on Madrid,” they shouted at Celtic Park. Los Blancos will have been sent a warning not to relax ahead of their European debut on Tuesday -- one you’ll be able to follow right here -- because before them they will have one of the best Celtics in recent times.

Celtic roar in derby, now ready for Real

It is a chant infused by emotions and back up with numbers. The Ange Postecoglou-led team has scored 25 goals in six games and conceded just the single one. Not even today, in one of the most volatile derbies on the planet, that goes by the name of the ‘Old Firm’ against the other giants of Glasgow, Rangers (who also take their place in the Champions League group stage this season with Liverpool, Napoli and Ajax) did they falter. Not one jot. Instead they steamrolled. A machine ready to crush whatever is laid in front of them. And now, it’s time for Madrid, the reigning continental kings.

Celtic Park celebrates during the Old Firm derby.
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Celtic Park celebrates during the Old Firm derby.Steve Welsh - PA ImagesGetty

There was no better way to demonstrate that Tuesday’s action won’t be easy for the visitors than by roaring fiercely against the eternal rival. The Lisbon Lions would have been proud.

Celtic have rotated in the midfield, but everything points to a settled XI for the first Champions League group game, the one that theoretically will repeat against Madrid. Although with one possible exception: Furuhashi, the starting striker and one of the great sensations so far this season, went off injured in minute 5. The Greek Giakoumakis entered, an international soccer player with his country and who, barring a miracle, will threaten Militao and Alaba. Because ownership was earned.

Celtic has reinvented itself as a team that loves the ball, moves it, pampers it and when you get lost, it splits you wide . There they have two diamonds in the rough: the Portuguese Jota and the Israeli Abada. Three of the four goals in the game came from his boots, all in the first half. Abada made the first and after half an hour, Jota signed the second. The third came in minute 40, dejá vù by Abada. Point and end. The Old Firm died, which has already become a fight for honor.

David Turnbull celebrates scoring his fourth goal in the Old Firm derby.
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David Turnbull celebrates scoring his fourth goal in the Old Firm derby.CARL RECINEAction Images via Reuters

Rangers, who after this defeat remain 5 points behind the lead -and it is almost impossible to recover the golaverage- rearmed back to avoid a blush. The biggest win in history, in favor of Celtic, had been a 7-1 in 1957. It was not going to come to that, but a 4-0 will much mockery for many months in Scotland. It was a massacre, rounded Turnbull, a starting midfielder who this time rested and 5 minutes after leaving, made the sentence of the sentence.

The debacle leaves Van Bronckhorst's Rangers very touched... and on Wednesday they visit Ajax. Celtic, on the contrary, reaffirms its best moment and looks into the eyes of Real Madrid, which will be received next Tuesday with the symphony of “You'll never walk alone” , prior to the war drums. Ancelotti's team will not have - far from it - an easy debut.

Abada leads the celebration after the match.
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Abada leads the celebration after the match.Steve Welsh - PA ImagesGetty

Celtic-Rangers Old Firm history

The eternal rivalry began in 1888. Both teams have met 604 times since then, with 216 wins for Celtic (the latest added today) and 251 for Rangers.

The Old Firm shines with a historic rivalry that goes way beyond the ball. Celtic is Catholic and Republican; Rangers, the opposite, Protestant and loyalist. Up to these levels, two clubs that have shared 106 Leagues and 73 cups throughout their history, almost a national duopoly, diverge.


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