Sunday, January 3, 2010
An 81st minute goal from Lee McCulloch helped Maurice Edu and Rangers escape from Celtic Park with a 1-1 draw versus Old Firm rivals Celtic on Sunday.

Edu came on as an early substitute in the 13th minute after Spanish midfielder Nacho Novo was forced to leave the field due to a thigh injury after colliding with Celtic's Georgios Samaras.

Injured American winger DaMarcus Beasley had hoped to overcome a thigh injury of his own before Sunday but was unable to get clearance from team doctors.

It was a difficult afternoon for Rangers who were also missing striker Kenny Miller due to suspension and defender Madjid Bougherra who is away on international duty with the Algerian national team at the African Cup of Nations.

Light Blues head coach Walter Smith saw his leading scorer Kris Boyd barely get any touches on the ball all match long as the Hoops dominated play.

Samaras was a thorn in the side of the visitors' defense in the first 45 minutes as he constantly blew past Sasa Papac and helped set up numerous scoring opportunities for forward Marc-Antoine Fortuné.

In the 18th minute Fortuné had a goal disallowed after the referee ruled that the Frenchman had fouled Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor while heading the ball into the net. It was a questionable call and one that left the denizens of Parkhead seething in anger.

Edu's first half was largely uneventful as the ex-Toronto FC man tried to shake off the rust that came after not playing for nearly seven months.

But just three minutes after the break, a counterattack by the Hoops forced Edu into a defensive situation where he was outnumbered on the left flank. Celtic's Aiden McGeady received a pass but pressure from the American midfielder forced McGeady to shoot sooner than he wished and the Irishman's shot sailed wide right of the post.

After several other chances, Celtic were finally able to break through in the 78th minute when substitute Scott McDonald beat the offsides trap and slipped underneath the Rangers defense to send a header past McGregor.

The goal sent the home fans into a frenzy but their celebration would only last for two minutes as Rangers were able to equalize off a corner kick.

Steven Davis lofted a perfect corner for McCulloch who beat the Celtic defense to the ball and smacked the header just inside the right post.

It was just one of the few opportunities during the entire 90 minutes for Smith's squad but it was still enough to keep their Old Firm rivals seven points behind with Celtic having a game in hand.

Edu and Rangers will take a break from Scottish Premier League play next weekend when they travel to Hamilton for the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.
Monday January 4, 2010 11:31 pm
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