Irish defender Liam Scales made a stunning impact with his second-season start, helping Celtic secure a 1-0 victory against Rangers at Ibrox.
Kyogo Furuhashi scored the match’s solitary goal in first-half stoppage time, while the 25-year-old former Shamrock Rovers player showcased his talent once more after featuring in last week’s 0-0 draw against St Johnstone.
Scales, once considered surplus under Ange Postecoglou, impressed new manager Brendan Rodgers during preseason, earning him valuable first-team opportunities amid a defensive injury crisis, despite recent links to a return to Aberdeen.
Following an outstanding performance that contributed to Celtic’s second consecutive clean sheet, Scales was deservedly awarded the Player of the Match accolade.
“We got a couple of disappointing results, so to come here and win is massive,” Scales shared with Sky Sports after the game. “We finish the first round of fixtures on a win, so it’s good. We had to dig in and defend — they’re a good side, so we showed a lot of character. We’re happy playing together.”
While the Light Blues had the ball in the net twice in the first half, both ‘goals’ were disallowed, one for offside and the other for a foul picked up by VAR. Furuhashi had opportunities to score before finally putting Celtic in the lead just before halftime.
With just four league fixtures played, Celtic now lead their Old Firm rivals by four points as they head into the international break, putting the spotlight on Rangers’ manager, Beale.
For Brendan Rodgers, it was a return to the overwhelmingly positive derby results he enjoyed during his first spell as Parkhead boss.
Rangers had suffered a midweek exit from the Champions League qualifiers against PSV Eindhoven with a 7-3 aggregate, raising concerns about Beale’s leadership.
The match saw some lineup changes, but Celtic maintained their composure and thwarted the expected Rangers onslaught. Moments of excitement unfolded, including a disallowed goal and some close misses, but Furuhashi’s decisive strike was enough to silence Ibrox and secure the win for Celtic.