Glasgow Rangers extended their lead over Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership after inflicting Neil Lennon’s second Old Firm defeat of the season.
Granted, it wasn’t the prettiest of affairs but the result was all that mattered in the end.
The home side struggled to get a foothold in the game at an empty Ibrox Stadium but a deflected effort from Joe Aribo proved to be enough to defeat the defending Scottish champions.
Steven Gerrard’s side looked a little off the pace to start with, but they gradually grew into the game, especially in the second half after their Premiership rivals were reduced to ten men.
Rangers were indebted to a fine performance from Allan McGregor as the veteran goalkeeper put in a hard graft to deny the likes of Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard and keep them in the game.
However, that doesn’t mean that Aribo’s latest showing should go unnoticed, as the Nigeria international showed grit and determination to dominate his individual battles in the midfield.
He hustled and harried Celtic across the pitch, and produced a moment of good fortune after he flicked a corner at the front post that took a deflection off Celtic skipper Callum McGregor and spiralled into the back of the net.
SofaScore graded the 24-year-old with a high rating of 7.4 out of ten for his efforts – higher than any Rangers player on the pitch other than James Tavernier – despite the fact his passing accuracy was only 61%. However, he made four tackles, three interceptions, blocked one shot and was fouled twice, as he proved to be a real thorn in Neil Lennon’s side.
Although Celtic had their moments, this potential banana peel did little to disrupt Rangers’ momentum, as Aribo’s intensity levels never dipped. It was arguably the Gers’ best performance of the season, as they dug deep and grit their teeth to shut out Celtic and they thoroughly deserved the victory.
Gerrard will have been delighted to see Aribo contributed at the back and in attack, even if he was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.
AND in other news, Glasgow Rangers should reward Kai Kennedy with a new contract…