Old Firm share the spoils

 

Celtic 3 Rangers 3

Rangers maintained their one-point lead over reigning champions Celtic as the first Old Firm match of the season ended in a scrappy 3-3 draw at Parkhead today.

Spaniard Mikel Arteta gave Rangers an early lead only for Celtic's Sweden forward Henrik Larsson to strike twice either side of half-time.

However, his goals were sandwiched between a header from Rangers midfielder Ronald de Boer and a Shota Arveladze.

But barely three minutes later, former England international front man Chris Sutton's close range effort ensured the points were shared.

Arteta, in his first Glasgow derby, opened the scoring just five minutes into the match.

A defensive clearance from Celtic centre-half Joos Valgaeren went straight to the Spaniard whose long-range shot should have been saved but was somehow palmed into the net by goalkeeper Rab Douglas.

In the 14th minute the bulk of the crowd shouted for a penalty when midfielder Paul Lambert went down under the challenge of Peter Lovenkrands but referee Stuart Dougal was not interested.

And Rangers were lucky that Dougal did not point to the spot in the 25th minute when Fernando Ricksen brought down Stilian Petrov from behind.

Larsson ensured Celtic had something to show for their pressure six minutes before half time. With his back to goal, Larsson took a pass from Momo Sylla, swivelled and shot fiercely past Rangers keeper Stefan Klos into the top corner.

And in the 52nd minute Larsson gave Celtic the lead when he climbed highest in the box to head home Petrov's cornerfor his 15th goal of the season.

Celtic's lead lasted barely 60 seconds before a sweeping Rangers move ended with de Boer heading Neil McCann's cross past the unprotected Douglas from six yards out.

In the 56th minute Larsson almost had his hat-trick but his header was tipped over by Klos. And Celtic midfielder Alan Thompson also went close when his strike hit the crossbar.

But Rangers looked dangerous whenver they attacked and it was no surprise when Georgian international striker Arveladze gave them the lead.

Douglas failed to hold Dutch defender Arthur Numan's shot and Arveladze pounced on the rebound.

However, Celtic hit back three minutes later, after substitute striker John Hartson headed on a free-kick as the ball somehow managed to find Sutton, after Rangers' defence failed to clear the danger, who blasted it home from just a few yards.