Bellamy's Celtic debut put back to Old Firm encounter

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The Independent Online

Craig Bellamy's debut for Celtic was put on ice yet again yesterday, which means that the Welsh striker will now make his first appearance for the Scottish champions in the frenzied atmosphere of an Old Firm game with Rangers.

Craig Bellamy's debut for Celtic was put on ice yet again yesterday, which means that the Welsh striker will now make his first appearance for the Scottish champions in the frenzied atmosphere of an Old Firm game with Rangers.

Bellamy, who has yet to play since signing on loan from Newcastle, saw Celtic's Premier League game against Inverness Caledonian Thistle postponed after the pitch at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium was left unplayable by the wintry weather in the Highlands.

Therefore Rangers will go to Parkhead next Sunday on top of the table after the 3-0 success against third-placed Hibernian at Ibrox on Saturday lifted them over Celtic on goal difference. Dado Prso scored twice on either side of half-time to reward an impressive display for Alex McLeish's side before Thomas Buffel struck his first League goal since his move from Feyenoord last month.

"Our performance against Hibernian was as good as any I've seen this season," McLeish said. "We had so many good individuals out there and Prso and Nacho Novo could have had a hat-trick each. This win keeps the pressure on Celtic. It will be tough when we go to Parkhead. It is no accident that their home record is so good and our luck has to change there some time."

Didier Agathe has already been ruled out of the Old Firm meeting. The wing-back is out until the end of next month after requiring surgery on a groin problem, which was aggravated by rushing back from the initial injury to play against Rangers in the Scottish Cup last month.

The Celtic manager Martin O'Neill said: "The groin problem returned after the Rangers game and he decided it was best to go under the knife."

Hearts narrowed the gap on Hibernian in the race for a Uefa Cup place by winning 3-0 at home to Kilmarnock, whom they face on Wednesday in a Scottish Cup replay, while it was a pivotal weekend in the struggle to avoid relegation.

The bottom side Livingston lost 2-0 at home to Dundee United, to slip five points behind the visitors, while Dundee and Dunfermline also won to move away from Livi. Even Richard Gough, the new Livingston manager, admits the task for his side is now huge. "I came here intending to keep the team up but that now looks like a tall order," Gough said. "However, I never gave up as a player and I will not now."

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