Miller gives Rangers clear lead as Celtic blink first

Celtic 1 Rangers 3
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The Independent Football

Kenny Miller scored two second-half goals as Rangers came from behind to win the first Old Firm encounter of the season and move three points clear at the top of the table yesterday.

Gary Hooper's opener just before half-time was cancelled out three minutes into the second half when Glenn Loovens put through his own net as he tried to clear Kyle Lafferty's header.

Miller then fired the visitors ahead with a volley in the 55th minute before netting from the spot 10 minutes later after referee Willie Collum, making his Old Firm debut, had pointed to the spot when Daniel Majstorovic fouled substitute Kirk Broadfoot.

It was a statement of intent from the champions, who extended their winning run in the league to nine games while at the same time ending their bitter rivals' winning run in the SPL.

All eyes were on referee Collum and it took him only 70 seconds to produce a yellow card, for a crunching challenge on Ibrox defender Sasa Papac by Anthony Stokes. Then, after Steven Whittaker had powered a 20-yard shot off the base of the post, and Steven Naismith had seen his drive from the rebound blocked, Lee McCulloch was booked for a foul on Emilio Izaguirre.

The deadlock was broken just before the interval when Ki Sung-yong's corner came off the head of Whittaker and headed for Hooper; the former Scunthorpe striker hammered it past Steven Davis, who was guarding the far post. But within three minutes the visitors drew level. Davis floated the ball in, Laffery headed towards goal and Loovens could only help it in as he tried to clear the danger.

The home side were the architects of their own downfall again in the 55th minute when Fraser Foster made a mess of a routine clearance and Miller fired home from 16 yards.

There was more drama in the 65th minute when Collum awarded a penalty after Majstorovic brought down Broadfoot in the box, although contact seemed minimal. After the referee brushed aside Celtic complaints, Miller drove the spot-kick in off the post.