HomeFootball NewsRangers v Celtic: Maeda goal after 21 seconds gives Old Firm derby...

Rangers v Celtic: Maeda goal after 21 seconds gives Old Firm derby ‘incredible’ start

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Daizen Maeda scored after 21 seconds for Celtic at Rangers on Sunday to provide a remarkable start to the most high-profile fixture in the Scottish Premiership.

Japan winger Maeda stole in to capitalise on uncertain defending and fire the visitors in front in a lightning opening to the Old Firm derby, which could prove pivotal in deciding this season’s title in Scotland.

“It’s an incredible start, it really is,” said former Scotland forward Kenny Miller, who played for both teams, speaking on Sky Sports while voicing his doubts about the parts played by defenders Connor Goldson and James Tavernier, as well as helpless goalkeeper Jack Butland.

“It’s just a punt forward by [Celtic goalkeeper] Joe Hart. You can see there’s a bit of indecision between Goldson and Tavernier and Butland, maybe.”

Fastest ever Old Firm goal

Chris Sutton, who holds the record for the fastest goal ever scored in the fixture, was also on punditry duties for the broadcaster.

Sutton scored after 18 seconds when the teams met in the same setting in 2002. The good omen for Rangers fans is that their team went on to win that game 3-2.

“Just one long ball does it for Celtic,” Sutton said of his former side. “Tavernier dallies and it flies past Jack Butland, who had no chance. It’s casual from Tavernier.”

England head coach Gareth Southgate was in attendance at Ibrox to watch Butland, who arguably could not have been blamed for the calamity.

Butland made a superb save later in the first half, tipping Matt O’Riley’s header behind as Celtic pushed for a second goal.

Rangers’ misery deepened, though, when O’Riley slotted a 34th-minute penalty past Butland after Goldson was adjudged to have handled inside the box.

“Let’s get it right: without Jack Butland, it would have been more than two,” suggested Sutton. “It should have been more than two.”

Celtic started the match a point above Rangers, having played a game more than their arch-rivals.

The reigning champions entered on a run of two consecutive wins, having drawn one and lost one of their previous four league matches.

Rangers had also won their two previous domestic games, recovering from a 2-1 home defeat to Motherwell on March 2.

Ben Miller
Ben Miller
Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.

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