Rangers and Celtic will replay their Scottish Cup fifth-round tie after a pulsating encounter here ended with both sides down to 10 men after sharing four goals. It was the first time in 47 years that the home side had hosted Celtic in a Scottish Cup tie but seldom in the intervening time could this famous fixture have produced such an afternoon of drama.
Rangers midfielder Jamie Ness began the mayhem when he scored his first goal for the club in the third minute. Old Firm debutant Kris Commons levelled in the 16th minute before Steven Whittaker regained the home side's advantage after Celtic keeper Fraser Forster had been sent off.
But the visitors refused to be beaten and captain Scott Brown equalised in the 64th minute. Manager, Neil Lennon, claimed his team got their just reward. "I thought we were the better team even down to 10 men," he said. "We regrouped [after Forster's sending off], and took the game by the scruff of the neck."
The Rangers assistant manager, Ally McCoist, had hoped for a better performance. "I'm a little bit disappointed, especially in the second half. We started the game very well and were unlucky not to be two-up in the first five minutes," he said.
Rangers took the lead in a whirlwind start. New signing El Hadji Diouf's corner was cleared to the edge of the box and Ness took a touch before arrowing a drive from 25 yards past Forster. Celtic's response was swift and in the 16th minute they were level. A break of the ball allowed Joe Ledley to take possession and his pass found Commons, who side-footed it past Allan McGregor from 12 yards.
After 38 minutes Forster was red-carded for upending Steven Naismith, who had raced onto a fine Nikica Jelavic pass. Substitute keeper Lukasz Zaluska came on for Commons as Celtic rejigged, and he had to pick Whittaker's spot-kick out of the net after being sent the wrong way.
Soon after the hour mark Celtic were level through Brown. A cross to the back post was gathered by Mark Wilson who laid it off to the Scotland midfielder at the edge of the box and he sent a left-footed shot curling past McGregor and into the far corner.
More drama was to come later when Naismith, already on a yellow, was sent off for diving in the Celtic box after Charlie Mulgrew had challenged. It was Celtic who pressed to the end but honours remained even.
Rangers (4-4-2) McGregor; Whittaker, Bougherra, Weir, Papac; Davis, Edu, Ness, Naismith; Jelavic (Lafferty, 76), Diouf (Weiss, 77). Substitutes not used Alexander (gk), Bartley, Healy.
Booked Weir, Bougherra, Naismith, Weiss, Jelavic. Sent off Naismith (75).
Celtic (4-4-1-1) Forster; Wilson, Majstorovic, Mulgrew, Izaguirre; Brown, Ki, Kayal (Samaras, 62), Ledley; Commons (Zaluska, 39); Hooper. Substitutes not used Loovens, Carey, Stokes.
Booked Brown, Ledley, Kayal Sent off Forster (38).
Man of the match: Brown
Referee C Murray.