Stalemate in Old Firm derby
© AFP

Celtic remain two points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League after holding Rangers to a 0-0 draw at Parkhead. It was the away side that dominated the match, but without creating many clear cut chances. In fact, the capacity crowd had to wait until the second-half for the first shot on target, with both teams displaying a cautious approach.

With so much at stake in the game, Walter Smith set up his side with Kyle Lafferty as his lone striker with midfielder Lee McCulloch sitting in front of the back four. Celtic struggled against the extra man in midfield and it was not until the final minute of the match that the home supporters witnessed Rangers keeper Allan McGregor being tested from a Shunsuke Nakamura free-kick.

Rangers started the half the brighter of the two teams and enjoyed the lion's share of the ball in the opening 15 minutes to keep the home fans quiet. But despite all their possession, the nearest they got to creating a goal-scoring opportunity was when Artur Boruc dropped John Fleck's cross from the left and Lee Naylor was forced to boot it clear.

It was Celtic who had the first chance of the match in the 16th minute. Willo Flood, making his debut after signing from Dundee United, skipped past Sasa Papac on the right-wing and fired in a cross which Scott McDonald failed to connect with properly to send it past the post when the Australian really should have got it on target. With the gap between the sides only two points, both teams seemed reluctant to commit men forward and the game only sparked into life again in the 36th minute when McGregor and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink were both booked for a minor clash in the box.

Lafferty had a thankless task as the lone striker for Rangers and the first-half finished without a shot on target. The second-half started with more purpose and Boruc was forced into the first save of the match from one of his own players in the 51st minute. Algerian defender Madjid Bougherra showed good skill to beat two Celtic players on the right-wing before sending in a low cross that Celtic captain Stephen McManus headed towards goal and Boruc had to be sharp to turn it round the post.

In the 57th minute, good work from Steven Davis sent his Northern Ireland team-mate Lafferty free down the right, but his shot from just inside the box was easily saved by the Polish keeper. Rangers looked more likely to score first and Davis should have done better when Kenny Miller, on for Fleck, found him with a pass at the edge of the box, but the midfielder could not control it and the Celtic defence cleared the danger.

The pair then combined again in the 69th minute to create another chance. Miller knocked the ball to Davis in the box and he backheeled it into the path of the Scottish striker who sent a curling effort well wide of Boruc's post.

The Polish keeper then made a fantastic point-blank save from a David Weir bullet header after the big defender connected superbly with a Pedro Mendes corner from the right in the 79th minute. In the 90th minute, Nakamura had Celtic's first shot on target when McGregor made a good save from the Japanese international's curling free-kick from 20 yards out.