Miller time for rampant Gers
Incidents galore in Old Firm tussle
Last Updated: 31/08/08 3:13pm
Cousin nets the opener
Kenny Miller came back to haunt his old club Celtic, scoring twice to help Rangers to a thumping 4-2 win at Parkhead in the first Old Firm derby of the season.
The Scottish international won favour back with the Rangers fans with his first two goals for the club since his controversial return to Ibrox earlier this summer.
Surprise inclusion Daniel Cousin gave Rangers the lead on 37 minutes, but the advantage proved short-lived as Georgios Samaras drew Celtic level two minutes later after a poor clearance by Sasa Papac.
Miller restored Rangers' lead on 52 minutes with a fine downward volley from Kevin Thomson's cross.
Pedro Mendes added a third ten minutes later when he grabbed his first goal for the club with a stunning shot from fully 35 yards.
Cousin soured his afternoon's work when he was sent off on 75 minutes for a second bookable offence and a minute later substitute Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink was red carded following a tangle with Kirk Broadfoot less than four minutes after coming on.
Celtic's misery was compounded 11 minutes from time when Artur Boruc made a mess of collecting Broadfoot's cross, dropping the ball to the feet of Miller who gleefully tapped the ball home.
Shunsuke Nakamura pulled a goal back deep into injury-time with a free-kick from the edge of the box, but it was nothing more than a consolation for Celtic as Rangers gained an early psychological blow in the title race with a resounding victory.
It was the champions who came closest first when skipper Stephen McManus headed a Nakamura free-kick just wide of the far post in the seventh minute.
Samaras had a near-post header easily saved by Allan McGregor before Aiden McGeady came closer when he sent a shot from distance just past the post.
On the half-hour mark, as the Light Blues took a turn of attacking, Cousin lashed a Steven Davis corner well over the bar.
But two minutes later, Rangers' veteran defender David Weir almost put Andreas Hinkel's cross into his own net, the ball flashing off the shoulder of McGregor before the Ibrox keeper collected.
OpenerCousin sparked the game into life in the 36th minute when, with no real sign of a breakthrough, he put the visitors ahead with a fine solo goal.
Mendes sent a looping ball up the right-hand side and the Rangers striker raced past Hoops left-back Mark Wilson with some ease, drove into the box and drilled an angled shot inside Boruc and the post.
But two minutes later Celtic were level when McGeady's cross into the six-yard box was missed by Weir and came off the hapless Papac straight to the feet of Samaras, who gleefully knocked it past McGregor.
The two goals took the sides into the interval level but the high tempo continued after the break with both sides quickly back into battle mode.
In the 51st minute, Rangers forged ahead for the second time through Miller.
After Cousin had been foiled at the edge of the box, the ball fell to Thomson who curled it to the far side of the area to Miller whose volley from 14 yards bounced once before zipping past Boruc at the far post.
PandemoniumPandemonium ensued as Miller and most of the Rangers players headed for the corner to celebrate with the Light Blues' fans.
Then, in the 61st minute, there was more drama when Rangers went further ahead with an incredible strike from Mendes.
The Portugal international, unmarked 35 yards from goal, lined up a Davis corner and unleashed a first time shot which sped past everyone in the packed penalty area to beat Boruc.
In the 75th minute, Cousin, booked earlier for persistent fouling, was shown another yellow then a red after clashing with McManus in an aerial battle. Then Vennegoor of Hesselink was shown a straight red for an apparent kick at Broadfoot.
The excitement was not finished as Boruc fumbled a Broadfoot cross allowing Miller the easiest of chances to prod the ball into the empty net for number four.
In the first minute of injury time Nakamura was fouled at the edge of the box by Weir and the Japan international fired in a consolation from the free-kick.