CELTIC legend Pat Bonner believes it took Rangers taking the lead in the frenetic early stages of Saturday's Old Firm clash at Ibrox to kick the champions into life in Saturday's 2-1 victory.

In the first encounter between the arch rivals at the Light Blues' Govan stadium for nearly five years, Brendan Rodgers' men recovered from Kenny Miller's 12th-minute opener to secure a 19-point lead with a game in hand at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership.

French hitman Moussa Dembele and winger Scott Sinclair scored either side of half-time as the Hoops turned the screw to highlight their dominance over their nearest challengers in the league table.

And former Parkhead shot-stopper Bonner was impressed with the way the Bhoys dealt with the early set-back.

Bonner said: "It was a terrific response. It took a goal to settle them down. That first half-hour, Rangers dominated most of the game and they made their chances and got their goal.

"It was a different Celtic in the second half. They came out, they almost upped the tempo right from the kick-off. I can't remember an Old Firm game with so many chances for both teams – quite incredible, going from end to end.

Bonner highlighted a change in dynamic in the battle between Celtic full-back Emilio Izaguirre and Gers wide man James Tavernier at half-time as key to the change in momentum.

And the BBC pundit, 56, insisted there was only ever going to be one winner when the Hoops went through the gears after going in 1-1 at half-time, but also paid tribute to the way the Championship winners put up a fight.

Bonner added: "It was interesting in the second half, James Tavernier went out of it and Izaguirre started to dominate. In the first half, Tavernier was the dominant figure down that side.

"The longer the game went on and the more control Celtic got, then [Tavernier] became anonymous. Then it was all down that side that Celtic created.

"They deserved their win in the second half, but I give credit to Rangers because we did expect them to come out and go at Celtic a bit – we didn't expect them to play as well.

"They'll take heart from the day. They kept fighting right until the end, which you have to do. They did that, but they were outplayed for a long period in that second half. It was a great game and it takes two teams to create a game."