Top five controversial Old Firm matches in history

Following the reckless actions of Rangers’ top scorer Alfredo Morelos in his side’s 2-1 defeat in the Old Firm to Celtic, it seems only right to remind ourselves on some of the more well-known red cards in what’s widely considered ‘one of the strongest rivalries in world football’.

The Colombian’s straight red was his fifth of the season, showing that perhaps the 22 year-old is something of a loose cannon and could be worth selling on while he’s still in impressive goal-scoring form.

Below we take a look back at some of the most controversial sending-offs in previous meetings between the two rivals:

1. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 – May 10, 1980

Recognised by most as the ‘Hampden Riot’, a goalless 90 minutes in the 1980 Scottish Cup final led to 30 minutes of extra time, as a George McCluskey goal for Celtic separating the two sides. But it was events off the pitch, involving the supporters that earned this game its bad name.

Pitch invasions, fighting between rival fans, missiles thrown at opposing supporters and mounted police being called in to deal with the disorder saw both clubs fined £20,000 and a blanket ban on alcohol at all Scottish football grounds.

The Scottish Cup final was the last chance for either side to get their hands on a trophy. Celtic had finished in second place, one point behind league winners Aberdeen while Dundee United had lifted the League Cup.

2. Rangers 2 Celtic 2 – October 17, 1987

Another Old Firm meeting where the football action took a backseat. An Andy Walker strike and a Terry Butcher own goal gave Celtic a 2-0 lead after 35 minutes at Ibrox in this league match, but both teams were already down to ten men.

Rangers goalkeeper Chris Woods and Celtic forward Frank McAvennie were sent off after a coming together in the 17th minute, with Gers defensive pair Graham Roberts and Terry Butcher picking up yellow cards for their part in the fracas.

Butcher was then sent off for a foul on Celtic goalkeeper Allen McKnight before Ally McCoist pulled a goal back for the Gers.

Incredibly, the drama wasn’t over, as Richard Gough netted a last-gasp equaliser and Roberts – who’d replaced Woods in goal – was seen to gesture towards the Rangers fans.

Woods, Butcher, McAvennie and Roberts were charged with breach of the peace after the Procurator Fiscal ordered a police inquiry into the game.

Butcher and Woods were convicted and hit with fines, while Roberts received a Not Proven verdict and McAvennie was cleared.

3. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 – March 17, 1991

Played on St Patrick’s Day, four players were sent off and seven booked in this Scottish Cup quarter final match at Parkhead.

Goals from Gerry Creaney and Dariusz Wdowczyk gave Celtic the victory, but the hosts had Peter Grant sent off early on before Terry Hurlock, Mark Hateley and Mark Walters were given their marching orders.

Rangers boss Graeme Souness apologised for his team’s ‘lack of discipline’ in his post-match press conference.

Souness was actually subjected to so much abuse from Celtic fans around the Parkhead Directors’ Box that Hoops chairman Jack McGinn felt compelled ask supporters to stop.

4. Celtic 0 Rangers 3 – May 2, 1999

This infamous Old Firm encounter ended with not just a comprehensive win but the League title for Rangers.

A brace from Neil McCann and a Jorg Albertz penalty gave Rangers the three points, but the performance was overshadowed by scenes both on and off the pitch.

Celtic defender Stephane Mahe was sent off for a second yellow card after 32 minutes, with Rangers a goal up, and the Frenchman left the field of play in tears.

5. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 – March 2, 2011

One of seven Old Firm clashes played over the course of the season, (along with the third in the space of just 26 days), the Gers had two men sent off during the match.

Steven Whittaker and Madjid Bougherra were given their marching orders while Rangers midfielder El Hadji Diouf, was red-carded later after the game.

But the real flashpoint came after the final whistle, when Celtic boss Neil Lennon and Ibrox assistant manager Ally McCoist clashed on the touchline.

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