Kyogo Furuhashi’s goal two minutes from time, earned Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic a 2-2 draw with bitter rivals Rangers on Monday to maintain their nine-point lead at the top of the table.
The 27-year-old Japanese international’s 15th goal of the campaign ended Rangers’ manager Michael Beale’s perfect record — four wins in his previous four matches — since replacing the sacked Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
Celtic took an early lead through Fukushashi’s compatriot Daizen Maeda before Rangers hit back with two quickfire goals early in the second-half.
Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou was satisfied with the result in what he termed a “great game of football.”
“We lost control a bit through self-inflicted errors,” said the Australian.
“But look the players are human not robots.
“They could have resigned themselves to their fate but, just as they have done in the past year, they did not and never gave up.”
The game was preceded by a minute’s silence being observed for the victims of the 1971 Ibrox Disaster—when 66 fans died in a crush 51 years ago to the day in an Old Firm Derby.
The solemn atmosphere was deepened by Celtic players donning black armbands to honour former star Frank McGarvey, Brazilian legend Pele and former Pope Benedict XVI.
Celtic took less than five minutes to get off the mark with Maeda taking advantage of a sloppy pass by Rangers Alfredo Morelos.
The 25-year-old pounced, brushed off two tackles and shot past Allan McGregor.
• ‘Poor goals’ –
Maeda’s smile was replaced by an expression of frustration when minutes later neither of his team-mates in the penalty box reacted quickly enough to get a touch on his superb cross.
Rangers took time to work their way into the match but a mistake by former England goalkeeper Joe Hart came close to giving them an equaliser.
The 35-year-old’s attempted kick upfield was blocked by Morelos who laid it back to Ryan Kent but Hart redeemed himself by getting a glove to the shot.
Furuhashi should have done better in spurning an opportunity to put Celtic 2-0 up as he air kicked a delightful pass in the box.
Morelos missed a golden chance to level right at the end of the half but his header went wide of the post—leaving him howling in frustration.
The hosts turned the game round though within minutes of the restart thanks largely to Fashion Sakala.
First, the 25-year-old Zambian international set up Kent, who blasted the ball past Hart for the equaliser and then won a penalty when brought down by Carl Starfelt.
James Tavernier converted with aplomb for his 100th career goal.
The visitors plugged away to little effect until the 88th minute when Rangers failed to clear and the ball fell to Kyogo whose shot took a deflection off a defender and into the net.
Beale — who knows Rangers well having been on coaching staff under Steven Gerrard — said the title was still a possibility.
“Those were poor goals for us to give away especially the second one,” said the 42-year-old Englishman.
“I am disappointed because I saw a lot of good things and players committed to the cause out there.
“However, we are still nine points behind but there is a long way to go and all we can do is continue to improve.”
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