Celtic 2 Rangers 0

McLeish left on the brink by Maloney thunderbolt

Certainly, McLeish's sombre mood and flat body language in the post-match press conference suggested he realises his time could soon be up.

Asked how much longer Rangers can afford such poor results before a possible sacking, the manager replied: "We can't afford not to get results."

McLeish insisted, however, that if the decision is left to him, he will fight for his job. "I'm going to take a planned break for a couple of days now and as far as I'm concerned I'm then going to be planning for the game in 10 days' time," he said.

That game is again against Celtic, at Celtic Park, but in the Scottish Premier League, where Rangers trail the leaders by 12 points. There did not seem to be a whole lot of confidence among McLeish's players that he will definitely still be in charge. "Results matter," said Barry Ferguson, the Rangers captain "and we've not been getting the results for him."

Strachan, an old pal of McLeish, was delighted with the win but refused to talk about McLeish's situation. Celtic now face a semi-final on 1 February against Livingston, Motherwell or Dunfermline, who all reached the last four on Tuesday.

When Rangers beat Motherwell in last season's CIS final to secure McLeish's sixth trophy at Ibrox, and then added the SPL title on the final day for seven, few if any fans can have envisaged things going so badly awry this season. But then Strachan's new-look Celtic side were not expected to gel so quickly.

From the start it seemed likely that either Maloney or his equally speedy team-mate, Aiden McGeady, on Celtic's left flank, would be the man to slice Rangers open, and so it proved.

Maloney opened the scoring on 26 minutes. With a feigned jink in the direction of Sotirios Kyrgiakos, he wrong-footed the defender and appeared briefly to consider running the ball into the box. Instead he simply unleashed a stunning 25-yard shot that had the crowd out their seats and gasping even before it billowed the net.

Rangers huffed and puffed, but their passing was poor, they created little and capitalised on nothing. They had one shot on target all night.

When Kyrgiakos was sent off for a second bookable offence with 24 minutes left, Rangers' "challenge" was finished. Celtic made it 2-0 when Shunsuke Nakamura's cross bamboozled keeper Stefan Klos, who was being pressured by Bobo Baldé, and was bundled into his own net.

Celtic (4-1-3-2): Boruc; Telfer, Baldé, McManus, Camara; Lennon; Nakamura, Petrov, McGeady (Varga, 77); Hartson, Maloney. Substitutes not used: Marshall (gk), Thompson, Virgo, Pearson.

Rangers (4-4-2): Klos; Hutton, Rodriguez (Pierre-Fanfan, 79), Kyrgiakos, Bernard (Lovenkrands, h-t); Namouchi, Ricksen, Ferguson, Murray; Prso, Thompson (Jeffers, 56). Substitutes not used: Waterreus (gk), A Rae.

Referee: K Clark.

Suggested Topics
News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?