A FIRST-HALF Ryan Jack strike secured Rangers first win over Celtic in 13 matches and put them level on points with their city rivals at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership table.

Steven Gerrard's team dominated Brendan Rodgers' side from kick-off at Ibrox and only some outstanding saves from Craig Gordon prevented them from winning by a larger scoreline.

It was the first time the Govan club had won a Glasgow derby match since the Scottish Cup semi-final two-and-a-half years ago and their first in regulation time since a league game way back in 2012.

It was also the first defeat Rodgers, whose men have a game in hand and remain ahead due to having a superior goal difference, had suffered at Ibrox and ended his 12 game unbeaten run in the fixture.

But Gerrard, whose team was beaten 1-0 at Parkhead back in September, will have been heartened by what he witnessed during the course of 90 one-sided minutes. Allan McGregor hardly had a save to make all match.

Rangers will be confident they can challenge strongly for their first Scottish title since 2011 in the second half of the 2018/19 campaign after a richly deserved and morale-boosting triumph.

Scott Arfield, Connor Goldson and Ryan Kent all passed late fitness tests and took their place in the Rangers starting line-up.

It was Kent’s first appearance since he limped off at half-time in the Premiership match against Dundee at Dens Park on December 9.

The Liverpool loanee had played 45 minutes of football since the league meeting with St Mirren in Paisley at the start of November.

Andy Halliday was preferred to Jon Flanagan and Lee Wallace at left back in the absence of the injured Borna Barisic.

Kieran Tierney, who has been out with a hip injury since the Europa League game against Salzburg , started on the bench for Celtic. Callum McGregor, the Scotland internationalist who normally plays in midfield, slotted in at left back.

Odsonne Edouard, who had made such an impact after coming on against Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Boxing Day, was named among the replacements.

Rodgers sprang a major surprise by naming Mikey Johnston, the 19-year-old winger, as his lone centre forward.

Johnston had scored a total of three goals against Motherwell and Dundee this month after taking over from Edouard up front. But could the teenager cope with starting in such a big game?

Any nerves he may have been feeling would have been eased when he set up James Forrest for the first chance of the game in the seventh minute with a lay-off on the edge of the box. Forrest got his attempt on target and Allan McGregor did well to get down and push it wide of his goal.

The visitors created another opportunity just seconds later. Lustig played a one-two with Forrest on the right and advanced into the Rangers area. He cut the ball back to the edge of the box where Ryan Christie was waiting unmarked. His team mate’s attempt, though, was poor. He sidefooted well wide of his target.

But Rangers had soon taken control of the match and only some fine play from Gordon prevented them from taking the lead.

Ryan Kent supplied Daniel Candeias and the winger’s shot, which took a slight deflection off McGregor, was only denied by the outstretched legs of Gordon. The keeper then did superbly to tip a Goldson header wide of his left post at full stretch just a minute later.

Celtic were saved by the crossbar from the resultant corner. Scott Brown failed to connect properly with a Halliday corner and only the woodwork prevented him from scoring an own goal.

It was no great surprise when Rangers opened the scoring on the half hour mark. Kent did brilliantly to beat Lustig down the left before cutting the ball back to Ryan Jack. The midfielder’s low shot was deflected beyond Gordon off the inside of Brown’s left heel and Ibrox erupted.

Celtic’s hopes of getting back into the game suffered a blow when centre half Filip Benkovic hobbled off injured in added on time at the end of the first-half and then right back Lustig failed to reappear for the second. Their places were taken by Kristoffer Ajer and Anthony Ralston respectively.

Gordon almost gifted Rangers a second goal in the 47th minute when his underhit pass to Dedryck Boyata was intercepted by Kent. The goalie redeemed himself by producing a brilliant save from Gordon. Boyata then cleared a Scott Arfield shot off his line.

Gordon again came to Celtic’s rescue in the 55th minute when Ralston’s headed clearance fell to the feet of Jack. He pushed the scorer’s effort wide for a corner.

Rodgers had to do something to get Celtic back into the game and he made his final substitution in the 60th minute when he put on Edouard for Johnston.

McGregor put the ball in the Rangers net in the 67th minute after being sent through goal by Ryan Christie, but assistant referee David Roome ruled that he had been offside.

Steven Gerrard threw on Lassana Coulibaly for Candeias in the 71st minute and Rangers continued to push for the goal that would have killed off the visitors. But it finished 1-0.

Referee John Beaton controlled proceedings well. Lustig was booked for a foul on Candeias and Ajer and Brown were yellow carded for bringing down Kent.