Football: Stubbs exploits Gascoigne exit

Celtic 1 Rangers 1
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The Independent Online
Celtic discovered the fine art of escapology against a Rangers side depleted by the sending-off of Paul Gascoigne last night. As Rangers prepared to celebrate victory and a six-point lead over their rivals at the top of the Scottish Premier Division, Alan Stubbs supplied a well- directed header past Andy Goram 30 seconds from time to save the home side's blushes.

The goal was the only effort on target for Celtic, who struggled to create chances against a side who looked the more dangerous even when reduced in number. Gascoigne was dismissed in the 58th minute for appearing to swing an arm at Morten Wieghorst, who was paying close attention to the England midfielder. It was a first sending-off in the Scottish game for Gascoigne, but, instead of lifting Celtic, a sense of injustice inspired Rangers, who employed their counter- attacking style to good effect.

On another night Marco Negri would have scored more than the one goal he managed. A one-two with Gordon Durie in the 71st minute allowed the Italian a run-in on goal and his crisp diagonal shot finished in the net.

Negri blasted over the bar from a good position in the 26th minute after being played in by Gascoigne and, in the 69th minute, passed up a glorious chance when he shot wide with only the goalkeeper to beat after holding off Marc Rieper.

Celtic were obviously stung by their defeat at Ibrox 11 days previously but, despite a more aggressive approach to this match, their problems in creating chances were obvious. There have been indications that they will continue searching for a striker but, in the meantime, their coach, Wim Jansen, will have to rethink his options if his side is to continue to challenge for the title.

As in the past, Rangers appeared stronger in every department, but it is in their cutting edge that they are so effective. Even without their influential Danish forward, Brian Laudrup, Walter Smith's side created chances and on the balance of those should have taken all three points.

The introduction of a challenge from Edinburgh in the shape of Hearts has added a new dimension to the title race and it is Hearts themselves who would be the main beneficiaries of this draw, which extends Rangers' unbeaten run against Celtic to 10 games.

Hearts continue to lead the title race by two points from Rangers and five from Celtic.

Celtic (3-5-2): Gould; Mahe, Stubbs, Rieper; McNamara, Burley, Lambert, Wieghorst, Boyd (Thom, 78); Donnelly (Jackson, 65), Larsson. Substitute not used: Annoni.

Rangers (4-4-2): Goram; McCall, Bjorklund, Gough, Cleland; Gattuso (Stensas, 76), Gascoigne, Thern, Albertz; Durie, Negri (McCoist, 83). Substitute not used: Snelders (gk).

Referee: J Rowbotham (Kirkcaldy).