Rangers 1-2 Celtic: Kyogo Furuhashi’s brace seals the Scottish League Cup for the Bhoys as Alfredo Morelos’ strike is just a consolation for Michael Beale’s Gers, whose wait for a trophy continues.
- Celtic lift Scottish League Cup again with 2-1 win over Rangers
- Kyogo Furuhashi scored twice from close range to retain the trophy for the Bhoys
- Michael Beale’s Gers got a consolation through an Alfredo Morelos strike
A Kyogo Furuhashi double won the ViaPlay Cup for Celtic in a thrilling 2-1 win over Rangers at Hampden Park.
A minute from the end of a breathless first half, Japan’s predatory striker headed in from close range before hitting a similar effort in the 56th minute to put Ange Postecoglou’s side in the lead.
Gers striker Alfredo Morelos reduced the deficit 10 minutes later but a spirited fightback for the Light Blues fell flat and indeed Celtic could have extended their lead in the closing moments.
It was Michael Beale’s first defeat since taking over as Gers boss in November and keeps Celtic on course for a domestic treble.
The champions have a nine-point lead over their rivals at the top of the Premiership and are still in the Scottish Cup and look set to take all the beating this season.
Celtic’s Kyogo Furuhashi scored the opener just before half-time as they won 2-1.
Kyogo took off with 15 minutes remaining but celebrated the win from the bench
The Ibrox camp have been worried all week about injuries to key men, but in case Malik Tillman and John Lundstram were deemed fit – January signings Nicolas Raskin and Todd Cantwell started on the bench – and Ryan Jack and Scott Arfield started on the bench.
Midfielder Aaron Mooy has recovered from knock and is back alongside Furuhashi with Matt O’Riley and South Korea’s Oh Hyeon-gyu dropping out.
After a minute’s applause in tribute to Hibernian owner Ron Gordon, who died recently – which was interrupted by Gers fans breaking into song – a frenzied match broke out amid a deafening din.
In the 21st minute, Allan McGregor was forced into a decent save by Portugal winger Jota’s drive from distance.
Hoops defender Cameron Carter-Vickers then saved Gers skipper James Tavernier’s cut-back and Celtic had to defend three successive corners.
At the other end, Furuhashi won a shot from the edge of the box over the bar before heading home right-back Alistair Johnston’s cross.
However, Mooy sent left-back Greg Taylor running down the left and when his cross was lost at the front post by Daizen Maeda, Furuhashi tapped into an empty net from five yards for his 23rd goal of the season.
It was a deserved half-time lead for Celtic, but five minutes after the restart, Gers forward Kent beat Hoops keeper Joe Hart with a left-footed shot, but the ball clipped the far post and Fashion Sakala struck into the side nets with the rebound.
However, it was Celtic who turned the screw and after the Gers’ defense was opened up again, Japanese midfielder Reo Haate cut the ball back to again hit the ball into an empty net.
Rangers, sensing the match was out of reach, fought back and when Tavernier’s free-kick from the left fell to Morelos at the back post, his right-footed strike was enough to beat Hart.
Both sides made imminent changes with Old Firm debutants Cantwell and Raskin, as well as Jack, for Lundstram, Kamara and Tillman, while O’Riley and Liel Abada replaced Mooy and Jota for Celtic.
The match had swung in Rangers’ favor.
A free-kick from the edge of the box from Tavernier hit the top of the post and went behind.
Celtic defended the corner but were soon under pressure again as Rangers continued to press.
More changes as Oh and Tomoki Iwata came on for Furuhashi and Hatate to make their Glasgow derby debuts with Morelos making way for Antonio Colak.
As the match wore on, McGregor saved from another Celtic substitute, Sead Haksabanovic, and O’Reilly, before Haksabanovic missed a great chance but the trophy returned to Parkhead again.