The Scottish Premier League needed the Old Firm Derby back, but Celtic vs Rangers at the moment is as one sided as a rivalry can be. Moussa Dembele tore through the newcomers (funny to call them that) defense with ease, and until the financial and quality gaps are bridges in a way, there’s still no threat to Celtic’s Premiership dictatorship.
Rodgers went through his first derby day comfortably. Dembele scored a hat trick, the first league hat trick in this encounter since 1966, and the first one overall since Ally McCoist in 1984. The Rangers defense duo of Philippe Senderos and Robert Kiernan looked completely lost whenever the pressure was on, but to their defense, the midfield in front of them, and the entire Rangers team, simply looked like a team out of its depth from the moment the second half started.
Men vs boys, someone called it. Wasn’t far from the truth. Once Celtic lt the pressure of facing a rival they have everything to lose against because of everything that’s happened since 2011, the last time Rangers lifted the Premier League trophy, Rangers are huge underdogs. Last season in a cup meeting it worked in their favor. Perhaps at Ibrox we’ll see the match develop very differently. For now, Celtic don’t have too much to worry about when it comes to their five-in-a-row championship streak ending, although they’re still 7 behind Rangers in total championships, even with the opportunity given to them to close the gap.
Budgets and player values aren’t everything, but Celtic’s players are worth five times the Rangers players. It tells the whole story. Rangers are after four years of progressing up the Scottish Football hierarchy, including one year of getting stuck in the second tier, which probably did them more good than harm. While Celtic are far from being a threat to anyone in the Champions League, and have boasted far superior teams to the one they have now, the difference between them and the current Rangers is obvious, from the moment a whistle is blown, or even by looking at the squads of both teams.
In time, this will become the grand affair it used to be not too long ago. But Rangers needed four seasons to get back into the Premiership, or whatever it’s called today. It might take them the same amount of time to make the Old Firm Derby fair again. It doesn’t mean they won’t win matches against their rivals, but they’re going to be underdogs for some time until the two are on a level playing field again.