Thursday, March 3, 2011
Celtic once again got the best of Maurice Edu and Rangers in their controversy-filled Scottish Cup fifth round replay on Wednesday night at Celtic Park in Glasgow.

Edu started in the Rangers midfield and went the distance in a match that saw the Light Blues ultimately end with just nine men on the field.

Fellow American and third-string Celtic goalkeeper Dominic Cervi did make the bench for the Hoops due to normal starter Fraser Forster's suspension.

It was the fifth meeting this season and the second in the span of ten days between the two hated rivals who almost looked ready to combust at the opening whistle.

Rangers were already hamstrung coming into the match with losses to key components Steven Naismith and Lee McCulloch, but then forwards Nikica Jelavic and Kyle Lafferty also ended up being last minute scratches for head coach Walter Smith.

Life did not get easier in the 37th minute for the guests when Steven Whittaker was shown his second yellow of the game, thus forcing Rangers to play nearly the final 60 minutes a man down.

Still, the Light Blues dug in and fought hard but soon incidents away from the field started to mark this match.

Rangers' El Hadji Diouf made his way over to sideline near the Celtic bench for a quick drink of water and began to exchange words with Celtic boss Neil Lennon.

Minutes later this carried into the tunnel as the teams entered halftime. The Celtic coaching staff continued to bark at Diouf so Edu and company shouted back over choice words of their own.

As for the action on the field, Celtic came out on the attack to start the second half and were rewarded with the game's lone goal in the 47th minute.

Mark Wilson sent a booming shot toward goal which Rangers defender Sasa Papc deflected out with his face knocking the Bosnian out of the match.

The rebound fell right back to Wilson who scored on a bouncing topspinning shot that Madjid Bougherra was unable to clear.

As the match entered its final quarter, 10-man Rangers had to make the most of their opportunities and almost did when Steven Davis and Edu exchanged passes allowing the Californian a run down the right side.

Unfortunately for the visiting fans, Edu was unable to find a well-marked Diouf on his cross.

Still, after their last second Europa League aggregate winner versus Sporting Lisbon, Rangers remained confident that an equalizer was in the works.

In the 93rd minute a ball into the area found Edu but the US international's header on goal lacked the necessary punch to find the back of the net.

Then moments later Bougherra was whistled for a second yellow due to a reckless tackle leaving the Ibrox club with just nine men.

Edu's header ended up being Rangers' last opportunity of the day as the final whitsle sounded and the bulk of the fans at Parkhead erupted in jubilation.

But then the fireworks continued after the match as Lennon and Rangers assistant coach Ally McCoist had to be separated after trading shoves in their post-match handshake.

In addition to that, Diouf was also red-carded for complaing excessively to the referee. The Senegalese attacker capped off his frustrating night by throwing his shirt into the stands.

Edu and company will try to pick up the pieces this weekend when they return to Scottish Premier League action versus St. Mirren.