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Sir Kenny Dalglish’s Rangers v Celtic verdict: Bobby Madden got his big call correct on a poignant day for football

© Stuart Wallace/BPI/ShutterstockNir Bitton pleads his case to Bobby Madden, but it was to no avail
Nir Bitton pleads his case to Bobby Madden, but it was to no avail

Bobby Madden has dominated much of the post-match conversation and debate over his red card for Nir Bitton.

Well, I believe the referee called it absolutely correctly.

My view on it is based on three factors:

1 – Where the foul took place.

2 – The manner in which he fouled Alfredo Morelos, namely wrapping his arms around the Colombian. There was no attempt to play the ball.

3 – Morelos would have been inside the area with one touch and able to get a shot in on goal.

Yes, you can argue that Kris Ajer was going to cover the ground and get across. That’s the point Neil Lennon made in his interviews after the game.

But there still wasn’t enough evidence there to suggest that the referee got it wrong.

But there was enough there that made it difficult for Madden not to send off the Celtic defender.

© Alan Harvey / SNS Group
Rangers players celebrate

I’m not saying that Morelos would have scored. However, that’s not the point. The fact is he was denied the chance of a goal-scoring opportunity.

Overall, I think the referee handled the game very well.

You could see him trying to talk to the players throughout, and allowed two or three of them away with a few free-kicks. He wasn’t card happy.

There was another flashpoint after Shane Duffy’s tackle on Ryan Kent. Madden got right in the middle of it all and calmed the situation down.

I also think that Bobby played the advantage rule very well on a couple of occasions. Indeed, he may well have been the best performer on the pitch.

But he was outdone by Allan McGregor’s brilliance.

He was outstanding and his save from Leigh Griffiths was right out of the top drawer.

© Rangers FC/PA Images
Allan McGregor makes a stunning save

It gave Rangers a platform to go on and win the game, and they are now 19 points ahead of Celtic.

Steven Gerrard and his players are now in a position where it is extremely difficult not to see them go on and win the title.

Nobody can dispute that they deserve to be in the lead, but it will now be interesting to see how they go and handle it from here.

How will Rangers react to being so far in front, and with their first title in a decade very much within their grasp?

Most of us would agree we don’t envisage an almighty collapse, but we don’t know exactly what is around the corner. There is much hard work to be done and really tough away trips on the horizon to the likes of Aberdeen, Motherwell and Hibs.

Their fans will now be keeping their fingers crossed that they’ll be allowed back into Ibrox before the end of the season to support the team in the closing stages as they try to stop 10-in-a-row, and win their own 55th Championship.

© Alan Harvey / SNS Group
Rangers captain James Tavernier leads his team out with a wreath

The Rangers fans were very much on the minds of us all yesterday as the 50th anniversary of the Ibrox Disaster was marked.

Tragically, 66 Rangers supporters lost their lives that day. It was horrible.

But I thought the Sky Sports tribute before the game yesterday was fitting and captured it very well.

I was on Celtic’s books at that time, and was in the stand at Ibrox that day. I left early, and I had no idea of what was to happen a few minutes later.

Rangers handled it all well at the time, and supported the bereaved families.

Celtic also showed care and compassion as everyone came together under the most unfortunate of circumstances.