Miller returns to haunt Celtic
A Kenny Miller double helped send Rangers three points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League as they came from behind to defeat Celtic 3-1 at Parkhead in the first Old Firm derby of the season.
Gary Hooper had fired Celtic into the lead in first-half injury time but a Glenn Loovens own goal put Rangers level three minutes after the break. Miller turned the game around as he volleyed Rangers ahead in the 54th minute before scoring his 13th of the season from the penalty spot for his third double against his old side since returning to Rangers for his second spell.
It was the fourth match in succession that Rangers had come from behind at the break to win and sets a new Scottish record for nine wins in a row at the start of an SPL campaign as Celtic's unbeaten run came to an end. Celtic manager Neil Lennon named an unchanged side while Lee McCulloch and Kyle Lafferty returned for Rangers.
In a fiery start Anthony Stokes found his name in referee Willie Collum's book within 70 seconds as he picked up a booking for a crude challenge on Sasa Papac. Just a minute later only the width of the post stopped Rangers taking the lead when Steven Whittakers raking shot from 15 yards cracked off the base of the post and Steven Naismith's follow-up effort was blocked.
Collum, taking charge of his first Old Firm match, was having a busy game as McCulloch was next to receive a yellow card for a late tackle on Emilio Izaguirre. Shaun Maloney left the field with a badly swollen eye to be replaced by Efrain Juarez in the 14th minute and the Mexican soon tried his luck from 20 yards out but his dipping volley went well over.
Allan McGreogor got down low to save a fiercely driven Ki Sung-Yeung free-kick from 30 yards and Hooper sent a glancing header harmlessly wide as Celtic applied pressure. With half-time looming Celtic won four corners in quick succession and from the last took the lead in injury time. Whittaker got a head to Ki's corner but it fell to Hooper at the back post, who controlled it on his chest before unleashing it high into the net from four yards.
A Loovens own goal started the Rangers comeback in the 48th minute. Steven Davis launched a free-kick high into the box which Lafferty diverted off the chest of the Dutch defender who couldn't stop the ball creeping over the line.
Things began heating up when Ki was booked for a push on Naismith before Miller came back to haunt his old club yet again when he fired Rangers into a 54th minute lead. Daniel Majstorovic got a head to Maurice Edu's lofted pass but it landed at the feet of Miller 15 yards out who smashed a volley low past Fraser Forster.
Rangers increased their lead in the 67th minute with a controversial penalty. Half-time substitute Kirk Broadfoot threw himself to the turf under the slightest of touches from Swedish defender Majstorovic and despite getting a hand to it Forster couldn't keep out Miller's penalty. McGregor had been having a quiet time in the Rangers goal but produced a superb save from Ki's free-kick before David Weir blocked Majstorovic's volley as the Rangers defence held firm.