The unexpected hero behind Neil Lennon's last Celtic win at Ibrox

By John Reid

September 1, 2019

It has been eight years since Neil Lennon managed a Celtic team to a win at Ibrox. Hopefully that record comes to an end on Sunday.

However, with Lennon back at Ibrox as Celtic manager, it is time to look back to one of the Hoops’ best derby victories of the 2010s, when a patched-up Celtic side won 2-0 at Ibrox.

The date was the second of January 2011. Celtic went into the game one point ahead of Rangers, but having played two games more.

However, going into the game Celtic were not favourites. They were without a host of key players, most notably Scott Brown and Gary Hooper.

A hero emerged

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The Hoops needed a hero, and an unlikely one emerged. That player was Georgios Samaras. In his time at Celtic, he had wowed and frustrated the Hoops support in equal measure. However, on this day he was going to lead Celtic to a very memorable victory.

The mercurial Greek striker took the game by the scruff of the neck early in the second-half.

He latched on to a Joe Ledley pass, beat the onrushing Allan McGregor and put the ball into the back of the empty net to give the Hoops the lead.

Converted penalty in style

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Samaras then won a penalty after a superb solo run. He converted the penalty in style to put the Hoops 2-0 up. The Hoops comfortably held on to record a memorable win, and one which arguably made Neil Lennon as a manager.

Celtic might not have gone on to win the league that season. However, it was still a notable victory that few people expected the Hoops to achieve.

Fraser Forster, who started in goals for Celtic in the game in 2011, is likely to start in the derby this Sunday. Both he and Lennon know what it takes to win at Ibrox. Perhaps the duo can help Celtic achieve another memorable victory at the home of their biggest rivals.