GLASGOW, Scotland — Rangers may want to leave it more than four years next time after a 5-1 Old Firm thrashing by Celtic on Saturday in the Scottish Premiership.
Rangers finished a player and an assistant manager down at Celtic Park in the first league encounter between the two sides in four years.
“It is always about bragging rights for the supporters and I think they will be proud of their team today,” Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said.
Punished with demotion to the bottom tier of the Scottish game in 2012 for financial mismanagement, Rangers has since achieved three promotions. But it was completely outclassed by Celtic on Saturday in one of the most iconic fixtures in world football, with the two bitter Glasgow rivals holding a combined 101 top-flight league titles.
Moussa Dembele grabbed two first-half goals before completing his hat trick after the interval.
“The atmosphere is something I have never seen,” Dembele said.
Celtic kept its perfect start with four wins in four matches. Rangers has eight points from five matches.
RECIPE FOR TROUBLE
Matches between the two sides run deeper than football because of the volatile mix of religion, politics and sporting history. Rangers has a traditionally Protestant fan base, while Celtic’s supporters are more likely to be Roman Catholics — and it can be a recipe for trouble.
Saturday’s match simmered but didn’t begin to boil over until late in the second half. Philippe Senderos, who was making his debut for Rangers, was given a second yellow card in the 75th for a deliberate hand ball.
Shortly after, Rangers’ assistant manager David Weir was sent from the dugout.
Eight yellow cards were given out as well as Senderos’ red.
The only empty seats in the stadium were due to segregation between rival supporters.
BROWN 1 BARTON 0
Playing in his first Old Firm match, Joey Barton was kept quiet by a solid Celtic midfield led by captain Scott Brown.
“People keep talking about Joey Barton versus Scott Brown,” Barton said ahead of the match. “He’s not even in my league. He’s nowhere near the level of player I am. He can’t get near me.”