Player ratings as Old Firm rivals share the spoils – XenBet

Celtic and Rangers shared the spoils in the final Old Firm encounter of the season after Fashion Sakala cancelled out Jota’s opener in a closely-fought 1-1 draw.

It was the visitors who fashioned the best chance of the opening exchanges. James Tavernier curled a wicked delivery into the Hoops penalty area where Anthony Ralston was sleeping at the far post. Ryan Kent got goal-side of the full-back, but he could only steer his effort wide.

The Gers were dominating the early moments, but they fell behind just as quickly when their own full-back, Borna Barisic, was caught napping. Daizen Maeda lashed the ball across goal where Jota showed great opportunism to nip ahead of the Croatian and divert the ball into the net.

Jota then could have grabbed his second of the afternoon 12 minutes later. Scott Arfield was caught on the ball by Reo Hatate and, after the Japanese floated a lovely pass towards the Portuguese at the back, he could only power his diving header over the crossbar.

Maeda went close from an identical chance minutes later as the Hoops went into the interval with the momentum.

Connor Goldson blazed over after the ball fell invitingly at a corner, before Maeda lashed at a great opportunity for the Hoops minutes later at the opposite end.

Rangers then came to life with a double substitution to level proceedings in the 67th minute. Scott Wright – who replaced Davis – played a gorgeous give-and-go before Kent fed Fashion Sakala. The Zambian lashed his effort beyond Joe Hart at his near post.

Sakala ought to have doubled his tally minutes later when he brushed off Cameron Carter-Vickers and shot at goal, but it was straight down the throat of Hart. He also headed over from the resulting corner.

Rangers had a couple of great chances to snatch three points when Scott Arfield was denied by Hart following sterling work from Wright, before Sakala spurned a one-on-one after his finish struck the inside of the post.

A frantic ending failed to yield victory for either side to keep Celtic six points clear at the top.

Here’s how both teams rated.

Carl Starfelt, Joe Aribo, Cameron Carter-Vickers

Starfelt on the ball / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

GK: Joe Hart – 3/10 – Beaten too easily at his near post from Sakala’s driven strike, but made an unbelievable stop to deny Arfield to redeem himself.

RB: Anthony Ralston – 5/10 – Very nearly gifted Rangers an opener when allowed Kent to run across him at the back post, but he regained his composure.

CB: Cameron Carter-Vickers – 6/10 – A performance which typified his season: strong in the tackle and always alert to danger.

CB: Carl Starfelt – 7/10 – Looked hesitant bringing the ball out of defence, but he was very strong in one-on-one duels.

LB: Greg Taylor – 6/10 – Great pass to play in Maeda in the penalty area for Celtic’s opener, always looking for an angle to receive the ball.

CM: Callum McGregor – 7/10 – Didn’t have a huge influence in possession, but his defensive work – blocks, positioning, etc. – was immaculate.

CM: Reo Hatate – 3/10 – Very high risk, high reward in his passing. Guilty of pondering on the ball too often.

CM: Matt O’Riley – 6/10 – Flitted in and out of the game, but he made a huge difference when he could work his magic in the final third.

RW: Jota – 8/10 – Showed great presence of mind to ghost across Barisic for the opener. Always looking to create the danger with his one and off the ball movement.

ST: Kyogo – 3/10 – Pressed tirelessly, but he had little influence on the game when Celtic poured forward.

LW: Daizen Maeda – 6/10 – Weaved his way into the penalty area for the Hoops’ opener. Lacked composure in front of goal.

SUB: Giorgos Giakoumakis (60′ for Kyogo) – 5/10 – Brought on to give Celtic a greater focal point in attack.

SUB: Tom Rogic (60′ for Hatate) – 5/10 – Had a few crossing opportunities, but couldn’t produce anything from them.

SUB: Nir Bitton (60′ for O’Riley) – 5/10 – Booked for a cynical foul on the touchline, which is why he was brought on.

SUB: Liel Abada (77′ for Maeda) – N/A

Fashion Sakala

Sakala celebrates / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

GK: Allan McGregor – 5/10 – Could do little to prevent Celtic’s opener.

RB: James Tavernier – 6/10 – The chief creative threat for Rangers again, always looking to burst his neck to get forward.

CB: Connor Goldson – 6/10 – Very adept at reading the danger when Celtic went direct. Strong display.

CB: Calvin Bassey – 6/10 – His recovery pace was crucial against the dynamic threats of Celtic.

LB: Borna Barisic – 2/10 – Switched off the back post for the second Old Firm in a row at Celtic Park to gift Celtic their opener. Struggled badly throughout.

CM: Steven Davis – 4/10 – Didn’t look overawed in midfield given his experience of this fixture, but he struggled to impose any energy on the game.

CM: John Lundstram – 6/10 – Looked to switch the direction of play whenever he could in midfield. Combative and kept Rangers’ intensity high despite falling behind.

CM: Scott Arfield – 2/10 – Guilty of gifting possession away cheaply at key moments. Very much looked his age in a high-intensity fixture before spurning a great chance near the end.

RW: Fashion Sakala Jr. – 7/10 – Had plenty of opportunities to stretch his legs. Took his goal extremely well in what was a difficult afternoon otherwise, but

CF: Joe Aribo – 4/10 – Had a few good moments when he was able to link play, but his lack of penalty box movement underlined the slightly awkward fit.

LW: Ryan Kent – 6/10 – Looked Rangers’ danger men, spurning a great chance early in the first half. It was his pass which released Sakala.

SUB: Ryan Jack (61′ for Davis) – 5/10 – Added some bite in a Rangers midfield which was lacking energy.

SUB: Scott Wright (61′ for Aribo) – 7/10 – Played a big part in the goal, receiving on the half turn and sprining Rangers forward.

SUB: Amad (84′ for Arfield) – N/A

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Author: Heidi Porter