Scottish Cup/League Cup

Betfred League Cup quarter-final

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Celtic Park, Glasgow


(Bayo 14, Rogic 46, Ntcham 56, 63, Sinclair 76)


CELTIC booked their place in the League Cup semi-final in emphatic style as they dismantled Partick Thistle 5-0 at Paradise. Neil Lennon’s side produced a great display of attacking football that could easily have resulted in a further five goals.

Vakoun Bayo gave Celtic a 1-0 lead going into the break, and the Hoops pushed forward in the second half, with Tom Rogic scoring in his first start of the season. Olivier Ntcham scored an impressive brace before Scott Sinclair rounded off the five-goal thriller.

Celtic started with a good tempo from the kick-off and Thistle immediately found themselves under pressure. Jeremie Frimpong made his Hoops debut, and the 18-year-old was impressive in the right-back position.

He released Lewis Morgan with a through ball down the right flank early on, and the Celtic winger chipped a cross in for Bayo but the Jags defence managed to head clear.

The Dutch full-back then burst forward himself and whipped a cross into the box that was blocked before it could find a team-mate.

Bayo kept the opposition defence on their toes with his movement in and around the box. The Ivorian rose high to get on the end of a lofted cross by Hayes from the left but his effort landed on the roof of the net.

He didn’t pass up his next opportunity, however, and put Celtic in front with a well-placed header from a Hayes set-piece out on the left.Bayo’s aerial presence continued to trouble the Thistle defence and the Ivorian came close with two more efforts in the first half.

The first was from Tom Rogic’s excellent diagonal ball in towards the far post, but the downwards header bounced over the crossbar. The second was a good cross in from Hayes which flew just over the crossbar.

Thistle’s best chance of the half fell to Shea Gordon, but his drilled effort from 20 yards was well-saved by Craig Gordon.  Celtic started the second half well with an early goal. Bayo was the provider this time as he set up Rogic who placed the ball in bottom corner from the edge of the area.

It didn’t take the champions long to increase their advantage as Ntcham scored his first goal of the season in spectacular fashion. Elyounoussi rolled the ball inside Ntcham and the French midfielder teed himself up before launching a rocket of a shot into the top corner from around 35 yards out.

N tcham’s quickly followed up with a second using a burst of speed to break away in possession from the halfway line. He dribbled into the box, cut inside and curled a low shot which went in off the inside of the far post.

Celtic’s dominance was far more prominent in the second period as they moved up a gear. The Thistle goal was bombarded with a wave after wave of attack from Celtic and Scott Fox made a series of good saves throughout the remainder of the game to keep the score from going into double figures.

Rogic cut inside from the right and had an attempted saved by Fox who then denied Sinclair moments later.The Thistle keeper was let down by his defence for Celtic’s fifth goal. Bayo pounced on a stray pass inside the Thistle half and sped towards goal.

He passed to Rogic who was denied a second by another save from the keeper, but Sinclair darted in to finish.Late in the game Ntcham’s powerful side-footed effort drew a collective gasp from the fans as it flashed just over the crossbar to deny him a well-deserved hat-trick.

CELTIC: Gordon, Frimpong (Hendry 78), Elhamed, Ajer, Hayes, McGregor (Brown 62), Ntcham, Rogic, Morgan, Bayo, Elyounoussi (Sinclair 66).

Subs: Forster, Edouard, Bolongoli, Forrest

PARTICK THISTLE: Fox, Williamson, O’Ware, McGinty, Penrice, Cardle (De Vita 59), Palmer, Bannigan, Robson, Gordon (Cole 74), Miller.

Subs: Sneddon, Hall, Mansell, Kakay, Saunders


Scottish Cup Semi-Final
Sunday, April 14, 2019
Hampden Park, Glasgow

(Forrest 45, Edouard 61, Rogic 68)


CELTIC stormed to their sixth consecutive domestic cup final with a dominant 3-0 victory over Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden.

James Forrest fired the holders ahead just before the break with a sensational goal. Odsonne Edouard then doubled the lead from the spot in the second half before Tom Rogic put the game to bed with Celtic’s third.

The game started at a frantic pace and Celtic immediately set about their opponents as soon as the whistle was blown for kick-off.

A long ball up to Odsonne Edouard sparked the first Hoops attack in the opening minute. Callum McGregor collected the ball on the overlap and cut a pass back inside the box for Forrest but Andrew Considine slid in to poke clear the ball before Forrest to get on the end of it.

Neil Lennon’s side did not allow Aberdeen to settle and continued to threaten in the early stages. Jozo Simunovic almost put Celtic ahead twice inside a minute early on. The first chance saw him unchallenged as he carried the ball from the halfway line before shooting from the edge of the box.

Joe Lewis had to dive low to his right to deny the Croatian. The resulting corner was equally as troubling for the Dons who would have been relieved to see Simunovic’s side-footed effort from close range flash just wide of the post.

It was clear early on that it would be a physical and fiercely contested game and both sides picked up bookings. Dominic Ball struggled to deal with the attacking intent of Jonny Hayes and was booked for a late challenge on the Irishman.

Forrest’s yellow card was frustrating one for Celtic though. From out on the left, the Hoops winger made a dash for goal and was held back by Considine, but the referee issued Forrest with a yellow card for apparently diving.

Celtic dominated possession and the defence ensured Scott Bain had little to do in the first half. The best chance Derek McInnes’ team had was a header from Lewis Ferguson which was just wide of goal. Much of the action was in the Aberdeen half and more opportunities followed for the champions.

Kieran Tierney created a good opportunity for Celtic when he broke clear of his man out on the left and delivered a low driven pass across the face of goal. Edouard controlled it with his back to goal, turned and shot but the attempt was blocked.

Aberdeen were reduced to 10 men just before the break after Ball was shown a second yellow for a reckless challenge in the middle of the pitch. The Dons defender was late with his attempt to header the ball and it resulted in a head collision with Ryan Christie.

The Celtic midfielder was stretchered off and Tom Rogic was brought on in his place.Forrest and McGregor linked up well just before half-time to give Celtic a well-deserved lead. McGregor rolled the ball inside to Forrest who turned, ran across the face of goal and curled a sensational shot into the far corner from around 25-yards.

The half-time whistle couldn’t come soon enough for Aberdeen who looked increasingly unable to deal with Celtic’s attacking football. Forrest nearly stabbed in a second goal when he ran on to Rogic’s pass inside the box and Mikael Lustig’s header was well saved by Lewis.

Celtic looked eager to kill the game off with another goal early in the second period. McGregor was the first to have a go when he ran on to Hayes’ pass from the byline. He took a touch and drilled a shot across goal but it was just off target.

Aberdeen crumbled under the pressure 15 minutes after the restart when they conceded a penalty. Lustig played a long diagonal ball into the box for Hayes and Michael Devlin brought him down as he tore through on goal. Edouard stepped up and converted his 20th goal of the season.

The Dons’ afternoon then got worse when Lewis Ferguson was shown a straight red for a two-footed tackle on Rogic in the edge of the box. Lustig’s attempt from the set-piece was blocked by the wall, but the rebound fell to him and the Swede quickly teed up Rogic who coolly slotted the ball into the bottom far corner with his left foot.

With a three goal lead and Aberdeen, whose manager was sent to the stand shortly after the third goal, down to nine men Celtic were comfortably in control for the remainder of the match.

Substitutes Scott Sinclair and Timo Weah provided an added injection of pace late in the second half and the pair both troubled Lewis with attempts on goal.

Simunovic almost scored what would have been a goal of the season contender five minutes from the end when he connected with Lustig’s lofted cross into the box with a volley, but his effort was narrowly off target.

Edouard was unfortunate not to have a second goal right at the end, but Lewis pulled off a good save to push clear the shot from 25-yards.The win means Celtic will meet Hearts in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden on May 25.

CELTIC: Bain; Lustig, Simunovic, Ajer, Tierney; Brown, McGregor, Christie (Rogic 43), Hayes (Sinclair 74), Forrest (Weah 74), Edouard.
Subs: De Vries, Toljan, Benkovic, Ntcham

ABERDEEN: Lewis; Considine, McKenna, Stewart, Cosgrove (Wilson 85), May (Devlin 43), Ferguson, Ball, Campbell, McLennan, Loew
Subs: Cerny, Gleeson, Halford, Ross, Virtanen

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Scottish Cup
Saturday, March 2, 2019
Easter Road, Edinburgh
(Forrest 62, Brown 75)

CELTIC booked their place in the Scottish Cup semi-final with a 2-0 win against Hibernian at Easter Road. The Hoops have struggled against Hibs in the capital in recent years but Neil Lennon’s side outplayed their opponents to come away with a convincing victory.

James Forrest fired Celtic ahead in the second half with a wonderful strike from the edge of the area. Scott Brown then put the game to bed with a powerful shot into the top corner.

The Scottish champions hadn’t won at Easter Road since January 2014. Neil Lennon was Celtic manager then and the Irishman’s team gave Celtic fans a night to remember tonight as they secured their place in yet another Scottish Cup semi-final.

Celtic immediately set about their opponents and created the first goal scoring chance just a couple of minutes after the referee had blown for kick-off.

Odsonne Edouard slipped a pass into the path of Oliver Burke who shot across goal with his left foot from inside the box. The keeper saved though and the danger was cleared before Scott Sinclair could pounce on the rebound.

Despite the buoyant start Celtic struggled to built any momentum from the early opportunity and it wasn’t until later in the half that they began to carve openings in the Hibs’ defence.

Celtic had prolonged periods of possession inside their opponent’s half but the home side were effective in closing the spaces when not in possession.

Paul Heckingbottom’s side left no room down the channels for either James Forrest or Scott Sinclair to work with. Forrest did manage to deliver a cross into the box for Edouard though. With a drop of the shoulder he floated a cross onto the box for Edouard, but the Frenchman was pressured by two defenders and couldn’t generate enough power with his header.

The best chance of the half stemmed from a surging Scott Brown drive forward from the halfway line. The Celtic captain cut the ball inside to Forrest who played a through pass to Edouard. He dribbled into the box but appeared to stumble at the crucial moment just as the keeper was rushing off his line.

Celtic quickly created a second opportunity shortly afterwards when Kieran Tierney delivered an excellent cross in to the back post for Edouard. The striker timed his run well and was poised to tap the ball in at the back post but Ofir Marciano flew off his line to punch clear and Olly Burke’s quick fire volley sailed high over the crossbar.

Both sides started the second half with a high tempo. Celtic were more assured in their attacking play while Hibs threatened on the counter attack.

Neil Lennon tweaked his Celtic side following the restart by moving Burke out wide and bringing James Forrest into a more central midfield position. Burke’s pace proved troubling for Lewis Stevenson at left-back and the 21-year-old forward was able to deliver a good cross into the box for Edouard early on.

The striker chested the ball down and readied a shot but the ball was stabbed clear before he could pull the trigger.

The Celtic pairing were a constant danger for their opponents who looked increasingly unable to deal with their qualities. They linked up well to penetrate the Hibs defence when Edouard rolled the ball into the path of Burke with a deft backheel. Burke was brought down as he made for the penalty area but the referee waved play on.

Moving Forrest into the centre of midfield proved to be an astute tactical decision by Neil Lennon after the Hoops winger fired Celtic into the lead with his 15th goal of the season.

The 27-year-old picked up the ball 20-yards from goal, skipped past two players and rifled the ball into the top corner with his right foot from the edge of the area.

Celtic seemed to tighten their hold on the game following the goal and piled the pressure on their opponents as they went in search of a second.
It came just over 10 minutes later when Brown doubled Celtic’s lead with a wonderful strike into the top corner.

The Hoops captain evaded two opposition players as he ran across the box and rocketed the ball into the top corner with a powerful right footed strike.

Celtic’s dominance on the game grew as the final whistle approached and they continued to push for a third goal but the referee’s final whistle spared the home side who were ultimately outclassed by the defending champions.

CELTIC: Bain; Lustig, Boyata (Toljan 84), Ajer, Tierney; Brown, Bitton, Edouard, Forrest, Sinclair (Johnston 75); Burke (Henderson 89)
Subs: Gordon, Hendry, Hayes, Weah

HIBERNIAN: Marciano, Gray, McGregor, Hanlon, Stevenson, Milligan, Slivka, Omeonga (Shaw 76), Horgan (Mallan 64), Kamberi, McNulty
Subs: Dabrowski, Bartley, Bigirimana, Mackie, Allan
Website Man of the Match: Scott Brown

Scottish Cup quarter-final draw in full:
Aberdeen v Kilmarnock or Rangers
Dundee United v Ross County or Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Partick Thistle v Heart of Midlothian
Hibernian v Celtic
Ties to be played weekend of 2 March 2019.


Scottish Cup, Fifth Round
Sunday, February 10, 2019
Celtic Park, Glasgow
(Sinclair 3, 54, 89, Brown 9, Forrest 53)

CELTIC booked their place in the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup with a 5-0 win against St Johnstone at Paradise. A Scott Sinclair hat-trick helped Brendan Rodgers’ side demolish their opponents and continued Celtic’s 100 per cent domestic win record at home this season.

Sinclair opened the scoring shortly after kick-off and Scott Brown followed up to make it 2-0 before the break. James Forrest then made it three and a second-half double from Sinclair completed his hat-trick to make it a fantastic 5-0 for Celtic.

Celtic started the game in explosive form and wasted no time in asserting their dominance over St Johnstone. The Scottish champions rocked their opponents with some heavy blows early on and the Perth side never really found their footing in the remainder of the game.

St Johnstone were forced to abandon their deep defensive set-up after finding themselves trailing by two goals inside the opening 10 minutes.
Oliver Burke was the creator of the opening goal after powering through the Saints defence and into the box.

He had a clear shot on goal from around 10- ards but opted to cut the ball across the face of goal for Sinclair. His selflessness was rewarded when Sinclair side-footed the ball beyond Zander Clark and into the roof of the net.

Brown sent Paradise into hysteria six minutes later when he added his name to the scoresheet with a sensational goal. The Celtic captain was 30 yards from goal when the ball broke to him in space. He took a touch and rifled the ball into the top corner and celebrated with his trademark outstretched arms.

Tommy Wright’s side pressed Celtic higher up the park after conceding the second, but the Scottish champions moved the ball well and punished their opponents with quick transitions into attack. James Forrest and Jeremy Toljan were both lively down the right wing were a key source of attack for much of the first half.

The best chance Celtic had in the first half to increase the lead was again created by Burke. He drifted out wide and Forrest lifted a good pass over the defence which sent Burke tearing down the wing. He took the ball to the by-line and drilled it across the face of goal but there were no team-mates to steer it goalward.

Celtic started the second half lively and, as they had done in the early stages of the first-half, punished St Johnstone with two goals in quick succession.

Jonny Hayes created Celtic’s third goal when he linked-up well with Christie in the middle of the park and drove through the St Johnstone midfield before rolling the ball out to Forrest just inside the box.

The Hoops winger finished well with his side-footed effort which he placed into the near corner. One minute later, Forrest knocked the ball on for Burke out on the right and the 21-year-old forward again punished St Johnstone with his pace and power. He created enough room to cut the ball back across the face of goal for Sinclair to tap in.

There was no let-up for St Johnstone as the final whistle drew nearer and Celtic continued to heap the pressure on their opponents.

Realising there was no hope of salvaging anything from the game, St Johnstone sat in for the final stages of the game and limited the spaces for Celtic to exploit. It didn’t pay off though and the Hoops undid the Saints’ defence for a fifth time late in the game.

Second half substitute Odsonne Edouard was crowded out on the edge of the box as he tried to find a gap to shoot. He opted to roll the ball out to Sinclair who turned inside and coolly tucked the ball into the bottom corner to cap off the afternoon with a hat-trick.

CELTIC: Bain; Toljan, Boyata, Simunovic (Ajer 45), Hayes; Brown, McGregor, Christie (Edouard 62); Forrest, Sinclair; Burke (Weah 67)
Sub: Gordon, Lustig, Bitton, Johnston

ST JOHNSTONE: Clark; Tanser, Shaughnessy, Davidson (Callachan 68), Kane, Wotherspoon, Kerr, Foster, Craig, Goss (Watt 45), Kennedy (Keown 59)
Subs: Bell, Alston, Swanson, O’Halloran

Fifth-round draw
Ross County v Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Hibernian v Raith Rovers
Kilmarnock v Cowdenbeath or Rangers
Hearts v Auchinleck Talbot
St Mirren v Dundee United
East Fife v Partick Thistle
Aberdeen or Stenhousemuir v Dundee or Queen of the South
Celtic v St Johnstone
Ties to be played weekend of 9 and 10 February


William Hill Scottish Cup
Saturday, January 19, 2019
Celtic Park

(Sinclair 36, 55, Weah 82)

NEW Bhoy Timothy Weah made an instant impact at Paradise by scoring in Celtic’s comfortable 3-0 win over Airdrieonians in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup, with a brace from Scott Sinclair ensured progression for the Hoops, as they marked their first game of 2019 with a convincing victory.

The Scottish champions pressed the visitors deep into their half from the outset, and controlled much of the possession with some fast, sharp and direct football. A searching pass over the top from Dedryck Boyata found Scott Sinclair inside the first minute, but the winger struggled to bring the ball down with his head.

Two minutes later, a wonderful long-ball from Filip Benkovic found Anthony Ralston on the right, whose touch inside found Oliver Burke. A neat piece of footwork allowed the 21-year-old to return the ball to the overlapping right-back, who forced a save at the feet of Airdrie goalkeeper David Hutton.

The Scottish champions continued to press their opponents deep, and their next half-chance came via Boyata. Sinclair collected the ball on the left flank, played the ball on to Callum McGregor, who found the Belgian centre-back in space on the edge of the penalty area. The 28-year-old fired a right-foot sh which soared high and wide over the crossbar.

A well-organised Airdrie frustrated the home side with 10 men behind the ball, before carving a half-chance of their own when Leighton MacIntosh forced a fine sliding clearance from Boyata on the break. On 29 minutes, a bursting run and cross from Emilio Izaguirre at the other end was met by Forrest on the volley, but Hutton gathered the ball at chest-height.

Just after the half-hour mark, Celtic were awarded a penalty when Izaguirre collected a loose ball following yet another aggressive run from Ralston on the right and was brought down. Sinclair’s spot-kick was struck low and hard to the goalkeeper’s right, but Hutton saved well at full stretch.

On 35 minutes, McGregor again picked out Ralston on the right, whose low cross was turned over by Sinclair in front of goal. Two minutes after that, Sinclair broke the deadlock when Burke forced a low save from Hutton, only for the 29-year-old Englishman to emphatically fire home from two yards.

Minutes from half-time, Airdrie orchestrated another counter-attack, which forced a series of great reaction saves from Scott Bain, to deny the visitors a barely-deserved equaliser.

Brendan Rodgers’ men returned from the interval with the same intensity and confidence in possession, again regularly pressing their opponents deep into the final third. On 49 minutes, Hutton denied McGregor the chance to double Celtic’s lead, and a handful of half-chances for Christie, Burke and Forrest followed.

Ahead on the hour mark, Sinclair doubled his tally for the day, when a Christie corner was headered towards goal by Boyata. McIntosh’s block forced another reaction save from Hutton, but the Airdrie stopper spilled the ball into the path of the ever-clinical Sinclair, who struck the loose ball high into the net.

Burke continued to pose a threat in front of goal, and was unfortunate not to score on a couple of occasions. On 67 minutes, Hutton again saved well from the 21-year-old forward, and Scott Sinclair again found the net, but this time was ruled offside.

On as a substitute for Sinclair, it didn’t take long for Timothy Weah to get off the mark in Glasgow’s green and white when, on 82 minutes, a perfectly-weighted pass from Boyata allowed the 18-year-old to get in behind the Airdrie defence, and slip the ball under the opposing keeper.

Paradise duly erupted, and, five minutes later, Weah turned provider, but his whipped low-ball was just out of the on-coming Burke’s reach.
It was a comfortable performance from the Hoops, and a convincing start to the defence of the Scottish Cup.

CELTIC: Bain; Ralston, Boyata, Benkovic, Izaguirre; Forrest (Johnston 68), McGregor, Brown (Bitton 81), Christie, Forrest, Sinclair (Weah 68), Burke.
Subs: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Henderson

AIRDRIE: Hutton, O’Neil, MacDonald, Crighton, Milla, Gallacher, Stewart (Duffy 76), Campbell (Carrick 59), McIntosh, Wilkie (Glass 53), Edwards.
Subs: Mackenzie, Robertson, Page, Cairns

The draw for the William Hill Scottish Cup Fourth Round is as follows:

Aberdeen v Stenhousemuir

Auchinleck Talbot v Ayr United

Celtic v Airdrieonians

Cowdenbeath v Rangers

Dundee v Queen of the South

East Fife v Greenock Morton or Peterhead

Edinburgh City or Inverness Caledonian Thistle v East Kilbride

Heart of Midlothian v Livingston

Hibernian v Elgin City

Kilmarnock v Forfar Athletic

Montrose or Annan Athletic v Dundee United

Motherwell v Ross County

Partick Thistle v Stranraer

Raith Rovers v Dunfermline Athletic

St Johnstone v Hamilton Academical

St Mirren v Alloa Athletic

The ties will be played on the weekend of 19/20 January 2019.


League Cup final

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Hampden Park, Glasgow


(Christie 45+4)


CELTIC defeated Aberdeen 1-0 at Hampden to win the League Cup, a victory which marked the seventh consecutive domestic honour the club has won under Brendan Rodgers.

Ryan Christie was the goal hero, latching on to a wonderful long ball from Dedryck Boyata, and though his first effort was saved by goalkeeper, Joe Lewis, the Celtic midfielder was quickest to pounce on the rebound, firing the ball into the roof of the net.

Celtic dominated the game, and created numerous chances, with Lewis producing a number of saves, including a penalty stop to deny Scott Sinclair, to keep the scoreline down. But when the final whistle sounded, there could be no denying that the Hoops deserved to retain the trophy for a third consecutive season.

Both teams started the game with an intensity fitting of the occasion, showcased by a flurry of hard tackles in the middle of the pitch. Aberdeen pressed the Scottish champions deep into their half in the opening five minutes, but the first clear-cut opportunity was carved by Celtic’s Tom Rogic.

A cultured long ball from the Hoops’ centre-back Filip Benkovic found Mikael Lustig on the right flank, before the Swede knocked it on to James Forrest. The winger’s inside pass was picked up by Rogic, who then fired a left-foot drive which beat Lewis but hit the post.

On the 26-minute mark, Rogic and Forrest combined to create a half-chance for the Hoops, with the Australian’s shot blocked, while just a minute later, Odsonne Edouard collected the ball in central midfield before finding Rogic in the inside-right channel. In turn, he played in Forrest, and the 27-year-old followed with a snap-shot that was dragged wide across Lewis’ right-hand post.

There was a prolonged break in the play on 38 minutes following a serious clash of heads between Gary Mackay-Steven and Boyata. Celtic’s Belgian defender required stiches to a head wound while Mackay-Steven needed more extensive treatment before being stretchered off.

It meant six minutes of time added on to the first-half, and it was in this period that Celtic grabbed the all-important opener. Boyata, back on the field, found Christie in the final third.

The 23-year-old attacking midfielder controlled the ball superbly on his left before firing a shot a goal with his right foot that was well-saved by Lewis. However, Christie fired the rebound into the net, ensuring the Hoops went into the break with a 1-0 lead.

The League Cup holders continued their pressing play into the second half, and a flurry of counter-attacks provided a handful of half-chances for Forrest and Edouard.

On 53 minutes, Celtic were awarded a penalty when Dominic Ball was deemed to have handled in the box, but though Sinclair’s spot-kick was well-struck, Lewis reached to his right to turn the ball around the post.

Just before the hour, the ever-impressive Filip Benkovic found space 25 yards out, and his rifled shot was again stopped by a good save from Lewis.

Aberdeen’s best chance in the second-half came from Celtic substitute, Jozo Simunovic, defected a cross on to Scott Bain’s crossbar, while, minutes later, at the other end, a sublime piece of footwork from Edouard was followed by a curling shot over.

Celtic continued to look dangerous on the break, though there was to be no further scoring. The final whistle sparked great scenes of green and white celebrations on the pitch and in the stands as the Hoops celebrated another silverware success under Brendan Rodgers.

CELTIC: Bain; Lustig, Boyata (Simunovic 60) Benkovic, Tierney; McGregor, Christie, Rogic (Brown 64); Forrest (Ntcham 86), Sinclair; Edouard.

Subs not used: Gordon, Gamboa, Hayes, Griffiths.

ABERDEEN: Lewis; Logan, McKenna, Considine, Lowe; Shinnie, McGinn (Wilson 70), Mackay-Steven (McLennan 45), Ball, Fergusson; Cosgrove (Anderson 79)

Subs not used: Cerny, Gleeson, Wright, May.

League Cup Semi-Final

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Murrayfield, Edinburgh


(Sinclair 53, Forrest 65, Christie 72)


CELTIC swept aside Hearts to book their place in the League Cup final with a 3-0 win against Hearts. A dominant display in the second half saw the Scottish champions storm to what was ultimately a comfortable victory.

Scott Sinclair opened the scoring shortly after the break and James Forrest doubled the lead following a goalkeeping error. Ryan Christie rounded off the scoring with a wonderful strike midway through the second period.

Brendan Rodgers made a total of six changes to the Celtic side that were in European action in midweek.Changes in midfield saw Forrest and Tom Rogic return to the starting XI in place of Lewis Morgan and Ryan Christie.

Kristoffer Ajer marked his return from injury in place of the suspended Dedryck Boyata’s and Jozo Simunovic’s injury from midweek meant he was replaced by fellow Croatian Filip Benkovic.

The other two changes saw Mikael Lustig replace Cristian Gamboa and Scott Bain continued between the sticks in the League Cup.

It was a game of two halves as Celtic took their time to get going but once they were up to speed, Hearts could do nothing to keep them at bay.

Neither side were able to get a grip on the game in the early stages and both Scott Bain and Zdenek Zlamal had nothing to do inside the first 10 minutes. Celtic eventually settled into a rhythm and began to pressure Hearts.

Brendan Rodgers was forced into an early substitution when Edoue Kouassi appeared to be struggling with a knock and had to be replaced by Sinclair. The change meant Callum McGregor moved into the centre of midfield where he helped to control the play.

Celtic began to build pressure in the final third and forced Hearts to sit deeper than they had been at the start of the game. Edouard had a glimpse at goal when Forrest initiated a counter-attack in the middle of the park. 

The winger played a pass out to Edouard who cut inside and tried to shoot across goal but his effort was blocked.

Hearts’ best effort in the first half was an ambitious effort from Olly Lee whose half-volley from 18 yards was comfortably saved by Bain.

Celtic moved up a gear as the half progressed and had Hearts up against the wall but they continued to let themselves down with the final ball. Sinclair forced a great save from the Hearts keeper just before the break when he cut inside and shot across goal, only to be denied by Zlamal who pushed the ball clear.

Christie replaced Olivier Ntcham for the start of the second half, a change which proved crucial in giving Celtic the breakthrough they had been building towards before the break.

It was Celtic who started the game on the front foot and they were rewarded for their efforts with a penalty. 

Sinclair slipped the ball inside the penalty area for Christie who was brought down by Oliver Bozanic. Sinclair then stepped up and tucked the ball low into the corner to hand Celtic the lead.

Trailing by a goal, Craig Leven’s side were then forced to come out and the game opened up more which, ultimately, played in Celtic’s favour.

The Scottish champions were flying following the goal and they were relentless as they upped the tempo in the pursuit of a second goal. The main avenue of attack was down the left flank where Kieran Tierney and Sinclair troubled Hearts with good deliveries into the box. 

Edouard got on the end of a whipped cross into the box from Tierney but he couldn’t keep his header down.

Celtic threatened through the centre of the pitch too and the Hearts’ keeper was kept on his toes as Rogic tested him with a shot form distance. 

Some poor goalkeeping from Zlamal lead to Celtic’s second goal though. He fumbled a shot from Christie from the edge of the area and Forrest was quickest to react as he tapped the ball into the net.

The gulf in class became increasingly clear as the game progressed and the Hoops dominated the Edinburgh side with quick, fluid attacking football.

The game was put beyond any doubt with the third goal which came from a wonderful shot form Christie on the edge of the penalty area. The ball fell to him and the 23-year-old fired the ball into the top corner with an expertly taken left-footed shot.

Zlamal made up for his earlier blunder with some superb goalkeeping in the remainder of the game which ensured the score-line did not accurately reflect Celtic’s dominance in the second half.

Forrest was denied a second goal by a brilliant save 10 minutes form the end and the keeper readjusted well to deny Christie’s follow-up effort which he palmed on to the post. A game drew to an end with a flurry of Celtic chances as Edouard and Sinclair came close to increasing their lead.

CELTIC: Bain, Tierney, Benkovic, Ajer (Hendry 79), Lustig; Kouassi (Sinclair 26), Ntcham (Christie 45), Rogic, McGregor, Forrest, Edouard.

Not Used: Gordon, Ralston, Hayes, Morgan.

HEARTS: Zlamal: Smith, Dunne, Haring, Bozanic (Morrison 70); Lee (Clare 75), Djoum, Mitchell, Naismith (Amankwaa 8); MacLean, Dikamona

Not Used: Doyle, Hughes, Garuccio, Cochrane

Betfred league cup draw 2018-19

The full draw is:
St Johnstone v Celtic
Hearts v Motherwell
Rangers v Ayr United
Hibernian v Aberdeen
The Betfred League Cup quarter-final ties are scheduled for the midweek of September 25/26//27. Further information on Celtic’s tie against St Johnstone to follow.


Scottish League Cup

Second Round

Firhill, Glasgow,

Saturday, August 18, 2018


(Mbuyi-Mutombc 72)


(Griffiths 18, Dembele 77, Rogic 79)

CELTIC kicked off the defence of the League Cup with a thrilling 3-1 win in a Glasgow derby against Partick Thistle at Firhill.

Leigh Griffiths scored his 99th goal for Celtic in the first half. The hosts levelled the scoring through Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo in the second period but Brendan Rodgers’ side responded quickly and scored two further goals through Moussa Dembele and Tom Rogic.

Brendan Rodgers made a total of six changes to the side that played AEK Athens in midweek as the Scottish champions returned to domestic competition at Firhill to start the defence of the League Cup.

Emilio Izaguirre marked his Celtic return and was joined in the starting XI by Scott Bain, Kristoffer Ajer, Cristian Gamboa, Scott Sinclair and Mikey Johnston. Kieran Tierney, Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic, James Forrest and Callum McGregor all started from the bench while Leigh Griffiths retained his position up front.

Celtic were in control of the game from the off and forced the home side to sit deep inside their own half and soak up the pressure for long periods. There was an urgency to Celtic’s play and the Scottish champions soon started opening up the Thistle defence with some neat passing in the final third.

Tom Rogic almost scored twice inside the opening 10 minutes. He initiated the first opportunity when he lofted a long pass up to Griffiths who did well to hold it up inside the area. Griffiths then rolled the ball into the path of the Australian whose shot was saved by an excellent save from Cameron Bell.

Celtic continued to pile the pressure on their opponents and an early goal looked inevitable. Izzaguirre slotted seamlessly into the Hoops defence and helped play a part in Celtic’s attack with some accurate passing down the left and good link-play with Sinclair who was providing some good crosses into the box.

Sinclair caused problems for Thistle right-back Christie Elliott down the left wing and the captain’s inability to contain the Hoops winger ultimately led to the opening goal. From a short corner Sinclair rolled away from Elliott, ran along the byline with the ball and picked out Griffiths on the penalty spot who comfortably slotted home.

Celtic maintained the pressure on their opponents following the goal and looked like they would score a second before half-time.

Rogic remained a real thorn in the side of Thistle throughout the half with his attacking intent and good link-up play in the final third.

He helped instigate a great chance for Johnston when the pair played a neat one-two on the edge of the area before Rogic flicked the ball over the defence and into the path of the young winger. Bell was off his line in a flash and managed to smoother the shot to keep the score at 1-0.

Johnston came close again before the break but, after twisting and turning inside the box, his shot from a tight angle was pushed clear by the keeper. The half ended with a wonderful effort from Ntcham. He curled a fantastic shot form 25-yards which shaved the top of the crossbar.

Celtic’s continued to control possession following the restart but the home side were more organised in defensively following the break and enjoyed their best spell of play in the game.

The Hoops still managed to threaten though and came close with some moments of great individual play. Johnston went on a driving run from the half-way line, skipped past Sean McGinty on the edge of the box and tried to dink the ball over the keeper but it ended up landing on the roof of the net. Sinclair was inches wide with his attempt which he tried to curl into the far corner from 18 yards.

Dembele replace Griffiths in attack and made an immediate impact when he came on. Tam O’Ware and Elliott struggled to deal with a long ball over the top and paid the price when Dembele used his speed and strength to muscle them off the ball. He forced a fine save from Bell with a half volley from a tight angle.

Thistle substitute Aidan Fitzpatrick also made an immediate impact when he came on. He weaved create space inside the Hoops box and set up Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo who drew the home side level with a low drive across Bain which went in off the far post.

Celtic responded as cup holders should and re-established their lead within five minutes. Gamboa showed great pace to burst into the penalty box and cross the ball into the path of Dembele who directed the ball beyond Bell with his thigh.

Gamboa’s contribution to the game was not finished at that point and just two minutes later he was again the creator. James Forrest threaded a wonderful ball through the Jags defence for Gamboa to run on to and Rogic side-footed his cross past the keeper to extend the lead.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Bain; Gamboa, Hendry, Ajer, Izaguirre; Brown, Ntcham (McGregor 78); Rogic, Johnston (Forrest 69), Sinclair; Griffiths (Dembele 64)

Subs: Gordon, Simunovic, Lustig, Hayes

PARTICK THISTLE (4-5-1) Bell; Elliot, Penrice, O’Ware, McGinty; Storer, Gordon (Slater 37), Melbourne, Doolan (Erskine 58); Spittal

Subs: Sneddon, Keown, Wilson, Fitzpatrick


Scottish Cup final Saturday, May 19, 2018 Hampden Park, Glasgow

(McGregor 11, Ntcham 25)

CELTIC sparkled in the Hampden sunshine to sweep aside Motherwell and lift the Scottish Cup for the 38th time, sealing a first ever ‘double treble’ in Scottish football.
One year on from becoming Treble Invincibles in dramatic style at the National Stadium, Brendan Rodgers’ side made history again, with fantastic first-half goals from Callum McGregor and Olivier Ntcham putting the Steelmen to the sword and sealing back-to- back clean sweeps – a truly remarakble achievement.

It was another masterful performance on the big occasion from the seven-in-a-row champions, who dominated from the first whistle and whose grip on the silverware never looked in doubt.And there were memorable scenes after the final whistle as captain Scott Brown, one day before his testimonial match, held the trophy aloft to huge roars, before the manager and players took the salute of the jubilant Hoops faithful.

Craig Gordon returned between the sticks for the Bhoys, with Scott Bain dropping to the bench, in the only change to the team that contested the last league match of the season against Aberdeen.Celtic started brightly in the glorious sun- kissed conditions, and McGregor broke clear inside the opening 30 seconds but he couldn’t pick out any of his team-mates in the middle.And following a lightning counter-attack, instigated by James Forrest, Cedric Kipre had to make a timely interception to prevent Moussa Dembele from reaching Scott Brown’s low centre.Tom Rogic, fresh from signing a new five-year contract with the club, was next to try his luck, drilling wide from distance after receiving McGregor’s pass.

But the champions didn’t have long to wait for the breakthrough – and it arrived in spectacular style. Mikael Lustig’s cross was only cleared by the Motherwell backline as far as McGregor. He controlled the ball and evaded his marker in the same move, before lashing the ball into the corner from 20 yards with his weaker right foot, sending the vast majority of Hampden into ecstasy.With Dembele leading the line brilliantly, and Brown and Ntcham bossing the midfield, the Hoops quickly went in search of further reward.

Dembele couldn’t keep a half-volley down after being found by Tierney, and then the striker turned provider, showing superb strength to hold off two defenders and teeing up Rogic, whose effort was deflected wide.From McGregor’s corner, Dembele also headed over as the Steelmen struggled to stem the Celtic tide.And that was perhaps why Motherwell midfielder Liam Grimshaw restored to halting Rogic in his tracks with a blatant bodycheck, which referee Kevin Clancy deemed only to be a free-kick.

In the 25th minute, however, their resistance was broken again. Dembele was too strong once again for the Fir Park backline, and he laid the ball off to Ntcham, who rifled a shot beyond Trevor Carson into the far corner.Stephen Robinson’s beleaguered side eventually registered their attempt on goal three minutes later, Curtis Main blazing over after being found by Ryan Bowman’s flick.Normal service soon resumed, however, with Tierney – exhibiting his usual passion, drive and determination – and Dembele thwarted by some last-ditch tackles from the Lanarkshire side, following an incisive passing move.

Rogic also shot straight at Carson after Dembele’s effort had been blocked in the box, while several more crosses flashed dangerously across goal. Motherwell were relieved to hear the half-time whistle without receiving further punishment.The Steelmen, as they had to, showed greater attacking impetus following restart, and Craig Gordon was called into action for the first time, pushing over Main’s angled drive. He then made a comfortable catch after Allan Campbell took aim from long range.

But the Celts always looked menacing when they ventured forward, and Forrest was unable to capitalise on a good opening, following a rampaging run from Tierney down the left.Moments later, Dembele looked to have a good penalty shout waved away after being hauled back by Charles Dunne in the box.With Motherwell committing more men forward in a desperate attempt to get back into the game, the chances kept coming for the Hoops, with Ajer, Dembele and Rogic all trying their luck.In the 70th minute, Carson made a stunning double save to push away Dembele’s header and then block the striker’s rebound In the closing stages, substitute Gael Bigirimana almost the Fir Park club a glimmer of hope when his free-kick crashed off the bar but nothing was going to deny the brilliant Bhoys on another special day in the club’s history.

CELTIC (3-4-2-1) Gordon; Lustig, Boyata, Ajer (Simunovic 76); Forrest (Sinclair 89), Brown, Ntcham, Tierney; Rogic (Armstrong 72) McGregor; Dembele
Not Used: Bain, Kouassi, , Roberts, Griffiths

MOTHERWELL (3-5-2) Carson; Kipre, Aldred, Dunne; Cadden, Grimshaw, McHugh (Bigirimana 55) Campbell (Frear 79), Tait; Main, Bowman
Not Used: Griffiths, Hartley, Petravicius, Turnbull, Maguire

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Scottish Cup semi-final
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Sunday, April 15, 2018

(Rogic 22, McGregor 38, Dembele 51 pen. Ntcham 78 pen.)


CELTIC booked their place in the Scottish Cup final and kept their dream alive of back-to-back trebles after outclassing city rivals, Rangers, 4-0 in a one-sided contest at Hampden.

The Hoops took control from the first whistle and goals from Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor had them in charge at the break. Moussa Dembele added number three from the spot early in the second half after he’d been hauled back in the box by Ross McCrorie, who saw red for his troubles.

That effectively put the result beyond doubt, but Olivier Ntcham compounded the Ibrox side’s misery from the spot with 12 minutes left on the clock following Jason Holt’s foul on Partick Roberts.

The champions’ reward for a sensational showing is a return to the National Stadium on May 19, when they will square up to Motherwell for the silverware. And they will hope to do that in possession of a seventh successive title, with Brendan Rodgers’ side only one win away from clinching the championship.

The manager had made three changes to the team that won away to Hamilton last week. James Forrest and Rogic replaced Patrick Roberts and Scott Sinclair, while Craig Gordon took his place between the sticks in preference to Scott Bain.

It only the Celts five minutes to come within inches of taking the lead. Ntcham swung in the ball from the right and Dembele met it with a venomous volley which smashed off the post with goalkeeper Wes Foderingham beaten.

The Hoops continued to look the more assured side in the opening exchanges and Dembele almost burst through on goal after collecting a return pass from Rogic, but Russell Martin’s last-ditch clearance denied the striker after he’d held off the attentions of McCrorie

Ntcham was next to try his luck, firing over after a jinking run, before a low cross from Kieran Tierney caused further consternation in the Rangers backline. It was all Celtic, and two corners from McGregor almost produced the opener. His first delivery almost crept in at the far post until a fingertip save from Foderingham, and his second cross was inches away from being met by the onrushing Dedryck Boyata.

The pressure finally told in the 25th minute. Dembele did well to hold the ball up and slide a pass inside for Forrest who then fed Rogic. The Australian sidestepped McCrorie before coolly slotting the ball home to send the Hoops faithful into ecstasy.

Moments later, it could easily have been 2-0. Rogic again found himself bearing down on Foderingham after a clever dummy from Dembele, but this time he couldn’t apply the finish.

The Hoops looked a threat every time they ventured forward and only Martin’s late intervention prevented Rogic from getting another strike on goal following more good work from Dembele, who was leading the line superbly with his power and pace.

Lustig and Ntcham shot wide from distance as the onslaught on the Rangers goal continued. Aside from a Daniel Candeias cross, which was dealt with by Boyata, it was one-way traffic.

Brendan Rodgers’ men got the second goal their dominance deserved seven minutes before the break. Tierney danced past Candeias down the left and swung an inviting cross into the mix. Martin could only divert into the path of McGregor, who picked his spot with a fantastic first-time finish.

That prompted Rangers boss Graeme Murty to make an early change, with Josh Windass introduced in place of Andy Halliday in an attempt to stem the Celtic tide.

However, things went bad to worse for the Ibrox side after the interval as they were quickly reduced to 10 men. Dembele outmuscled McCrorie in a chase for a ball over the top and was pulled back by the young defender in the box. Referee, Bobby Madden, instantly pointed to the spot and gave McCrorie his marching orders. Dembele made no mistake from the spot, deceiving Foderingham with a cheeky ‘Panenka’ finish.

Stung into action, Rangers briefly rallied, with Gordon producing three superb saves from Alfredo Morelos, including one incredible stop from the Columbian striker at point-blank range after Lustig’s mis-hit clearance had cannoned off the bar.

But the Bhoys soon re-established their control on proceedings, using their man advantage to patiently pass the ball around and wait for further chances. And Rangers’ resistance crumbled again as the game entered its closing stages.


Roberts, who had replaced James Forrest five minutes earlier, was sent tumbling in the box by Holt and referee, Madden, had no option other than to award another spot-kick. This time Ntcham took responsibility and he confidently found the corner.

And as the clock ticked down and the final whistle sounded, the Celtic support celebrated a wonderful win and saluted Brendan Rodgers and his players after a magnificent display.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney; Ntcham, Brown; Forrest (Roberts 73) Rogic (Sinclair 60), McGregor; Dembele (Griffiths 80)
Not Used: Bain, Simunovic, Kouassi, Edouard

RANGERS (4-3-3) Foderingham; Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John; Docherty, Dorrans (Holt 73) Halliday (Windass 40); Candeias (Alves 53), Morelos, Murphy
Not Used: Alnwick, Hodson, Miller, Cummings


Celtic Have Been drawn Against Sevco In the Semi Final ,While Motherwell Will Play Either Aberdeen Or Kilmarnock ….


Scottish Cup quarter-finals
Celtic Park, Glasgow
Saturday, March 3, 2018

(Dembele 63, 70, Edouard 88)


MOUSSA Dembele bagged a second-half brace to help Celtic see off Morton in Paradise and send them through to the Scottish Cup semi-finals, keeping their hopes alive of back-to-back trebles.

After a goal-less first period, the striker opened the scoring with a powerful header from Tom Rogic’s cross and he sealed the victory from the penalty spot after he had been fouled in the box by Michael Doyle.

As the clock ticked down, Odsonne Edouard put the gloss on what was ultimately a comfortable win for Brendan Rodgers’ side when he forced the ball home after good work from James Forrest.

Having recovered from an injury he had picked up in the winter training camp, Marvin Compper came into make his debut in the only change from the team that beat Aberdeen at Pittodrie last weekend, with Mikael Lustig dropping to the bench.

He lined up on the left of a back-three alongside Jozo Simunovic and Kristoffer Ajer, and the Bhoys were forced into some defensive work inside the opening 60 seconds as Gary Oliver threatened to fasten on to a stray pass, but Ajer was alert to the danger.

The Championship club had come into the contest on a fine run of form, losing only once in eight games in all competitions, and they showed plenty of spirit and confidence in the opening exchanges. And as Celtic took time to discover their rhythm, experienced midfielder Gary Harkins curled a free-kick wide for the visitors following a foul on Oliver.

Eventually, the Hoops started to stamp their authority on the game, and Thomas O’Ware had to clear Dembele’s goal-bound header off his line after the striker had met James Forrest’s hanging cross.

Kieran Tierney and Scott Sinclair had efforts blocked and Rogic curled over as the champions grew in ascendency and forced Jim Duffy’s side into a deep defensive shell. It was now mostly one-way traffic, though Harkins did get a drive from distance on target for the Cappielow club, which was comfortable for De Vries.

Back came the Bhoys, and Simunovic headed into the side-netting from a corner, before Rogic forced Derek Gaston into a superb one-handed save from the edge of the area. The Australian internationalist was also narrowly off target with a volley from an acute angle as the game remained deadlocked at the interval.

Odsonne Edouard replaced Sinclair at the start of the second half as Brendan Rodgers sought a different attacking dimension, and the striker had a golden chance to open the scoring within two minutes of his introduction – Dembele’s shot dropped invitingly for him inside the box but he couldn’t beat Gaston.

Moments later, Edouard reached the byline and picked out Dembele, who took an extra touch instead of pulling the trigger first time and was crowded out. Edouard was certainly making a difference but the next chance fell the way of the away side as Andrew Murdoch shot narrowly wide from 18 yards.

Having upped the tempo and playing with more purpose, the cup holders were now carving out clearer chances and Gaston was called into action again to push Ntcham’s powerful effort behind for a corner.

Just beyond the hour-mark, the Hoops finally broke the Greenock side’s brave resistance. Rogic dug out a deep cross from the right and Dembele rose highest to bullet home a header via the underside of the bar.

Goal number two soon followed. Dembele was sent tumbling by Doyle as he burst into the box and referee John Beaton pointed the spot. The Frenchman picked himself up, before confidently dispatching the penalty high into the net.

That extinguished Morton’s hopes and the hosts had further opportunities to add to their tally, with Edouard lashing inches over and Dembele having a header clawed away by Gaston as he came close to claiming a treble.

But Gaston could do nothing to prevent Celtic adding a third in the closing stages as Edouard was rewarded for his impressive second-half showing, the forward blasting into the net via a slight deflection off Doyle.

CELTIC (3-4-2-1) De Vries; Ajer, Simunovic, Compper (McGregor 83); Forrest, Brown, Ntcham, Tierney; Rogic (Musonda 68), Sinclair (Edouard 46); Dembele.
Not Used: Bain, Roberts, Lustig, Kouassi

MORTON (4-4-2) Gaston; Doyle,O’Ware, Lamie, Russell; Tidser (McHugh 78), Harkins, Murdoch, Ross (Iredale 87); Tiffoney, Oliver
Not Used: Brennan, Strapp, Langan, Purdue


Scottish Cup fifth round
Celtic Park, Glasgow
Saturday, February 10, 2018

(Forrest 2, 10, 54)
(Doolan 20, Sammon 84)

JAMES Forrest hammered in his first-ever hat-trick as the Hoops edged past Partick Thistle to seal their spot in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals, on the day the Celtic family remembered former player Liam Miller.

Forrest had already bagged his brace inside the opening 10 minutes as the champions made a blistering start to the contest.Although Kris Doolan reduced arrears, profiting from Jozo Simunovic’s errant back-pass, Forrest finished off a long passing move early in the second half to put the hosts back in charge.

Brendan Rodgers’ side spurned chances to add to their tally, before Connor Sammon gave the visitors hope with a goal six minutes from time.
But the Celts saw out the closing stages to book their place in Sunday’s draw for the last-eight of the competition, keeping their hopes alive of back-to-back trebles.

There were three changes to the team who faced Kilmarnock last week, with Mikael Lustig, Simunovic and Scott Sinclair coming into the starting XI. The injured Dedryck Boyata, Jack Hendry and Eboue Kouassi dropped out.

There was a poignant start to proceedings as Paradise stood in a minute’s silence to pay tribute to Miller, who sadly passed away last night at the age of 36. Both sets of players also wore black armbands to mark the memory of the Irishman, a graduate of the Celtic Youth Academy who went on to make 44 appearances for the club.

Once the action got underway, it only took the Hoops 76 seconds to open the scoring as they burst from the blocks. Moussa Dembele controlled Scott Brown’s ball over the top and pulled the trigger. Although Danny Devine managed to block the striker’s shot, Forrest was on hand to bury the loose ball.

Playing at a furious tempo, the Hoops quickly fashioned further chances, with no-one able to capitalise on Sinclair’s dangerous cutback from the byline and Dembele heading over from Kieran Tierney’s delivery.

Within 10 minute, they broke Thistle’s resistance again thanks to a superb solo goal from Forrest. Picking up possession near the halfway line, the winger accelerated away from several opponents, danced past two defenders and then beat goalkeeper Tomas Cerny with a fine finish.

Brimming with confidence, Forrest continued to cause consternation to the Jags with his purposeful runs and trickery. And he almost made it 3-0 and bagged a 15-minute hat-trick after combing with Musonda, making his first home start, but Cerny pulled off an excellent save to push his low effort beyond the post.

It had been one-way traffic, with Dorus de Vries barely having a touch of the ball, but a defensive mistake allowed the Maryhill side back into the contest. Simunovic’s back-pass was intercepted by Doolan, who bore down on de Vires and fired home.

That goal gave Alan Archibald’s a lift and Tierney had to make a timely interception to thwart Ryan Edwards on the half-hour mark.From being in complete control, Celtic had lost their earlier fluency and attacking verve, with the game becoming increasingly scrappy and punctuated by fouls.

However, the interval provided them with an opportunity to regroup and they restored their two-goal nine minutes after the restart. Following a prolonged passage of passes, Musonda Tierney and Sinclair provided the penetration down the left.

And when Sinclair picked out Forrest in the middle, the Scotland internationalist took a terrific touch to evade a host of Thistle defenders, before rifling beyond Cerny to claim his treble and move onto 16 goals for the season.

Moments later, the champions threatened from the same flank as Tierney’s inviting cross flashed across the six-yard box, with no takers.
At the other end, a tremendous tackle from Kirstoffer Ajer on Blair Spittal, just as the wide-man prepared to pull the trigger, saw the Celts launch a swift breakaway only for the move to fizzle out.

As Thistle committed more men forward, Brendan Rodgers’ men came close to inflicting further punishment – Dembele dragged a shot wide, before Sinclair shot straight at Cerny after being played in by BrownStill, it looked as though it would be a comfortable conclusion to the contest for the cup holders until substitute Sammon pulled a late goal back for the Firhill side.

There would be no late rescue act for the Jags, however, as the cup holders marched on and took another step towards the Hampden showpiece in May.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1) De Vries; Lustig, Simunovic, Ajer, Tierney; Ntcham, Brown; Forrest (Kouassi 88), Musonda (McGregor 65), Sinclair (Edouard 79); Dembele
Not Used: Bain, Gamboa, Rogic, Miller

PARTICK THISTLE (4-2-3-1) Cerny; McGinn, Devine, Cargill, Booth; Barton (Osman 57), Woods (McCarthy 79); Spittal, Edwards, Erskine; Doolan (Sammon 60)
Not Used: Scully, Dumbuya, Penrice, Storey


Betfred Cup Final
Sunday, November 26, 2017

(Forrest 49, Dembele 59pen)

BRENDAN Rodgers made more Celtic history at Hampden today when he became the first Celtic manager to win his first four consecutive domestic trophies.Having secured the treble last season, the Irishman’s Invincibles kept hold of the League Cup with a 2-0 victory over Motherwell courtesy of goals from James Forrest and Moussa Dembele.

In the process, the Hoops also extended the unbeaten run to an incredible 65 games.
It was Motherwell who got the final underway but, not surprisingly, it was Celtic who immediately took the game to their opponents, forcing the first corner of the game after six minutes, though Motherwell dealt comfortably with the set-piece delivery from Callum McGregor.

It was a half of few chances, and only a couple of real contentious moments. A crude challenge by Cedric Kipre on Moussa Dembele on the edge of the Motherwell area went unpunished, though three minutes later, the Celtic striker was yellow-carded for a similar challenge.

Celtic were using the width of the Hampden pitch, trying to stretch a Motherwell side who put every outfield player behind the ball whenever they lost possession, with Forest always looking a threat down the right flank.

But apart from a Dembele header on the half-hour mark, Celtic didn’t really trouble Trevor Carson in the Motherwell goal. Craig Gordon was similarly untroubled, with a 30-yard free-kick from captain, Carl McHugh, Motherwell’s only real chance in a first-half most notable for the applause tribute to former Celtic and Motherwell midfielder, Phil O’Donnell in the 10th minute.

The first goal at Hampden was always going to be crucial and that breakthrough came for the cup holders just four minutes into the second-half. Callum McGregor collected a pass on the edge of the Motherwell area and slid the ball to James Forrest who cut on to his left-foot and curled a precise shot beyond Carson’s despairing dive.

The game immediately began to open up and Motherwell almost equalised four minutes later, but Louis Moult’s header from six yards out was stopped by a world-class save from Craig Gordon.
McHugh became the first Motherwell player booked before Moussa Dembele was inches wide with a header from a McGregor corner.

The task for Motherwell, already difficult, became near enough insurmountable just before the hour mark when Celtic won a penalty, with Cedric Kipre red-carded for the challenge on Scott Sinclair.
Dembele, whose pass had found Sinclair inside the area, coolly stepped up and converted the spot-kick to make it 2-0, for his second penalty in consecutive League Cup finals.

With a two-goal lead and a numerical advantage, Celtic swept forward at every opportunity and Stuart Armstrong was twice denied in quick succession by Carson in the Motherwell goal, who dealt well with both shots from just outside the area.

McGregor, always effective in the Celtic midfield, was next to try his luck, but his shot from 19 yards out was wide of the target.Forrest, outstanding throughout the match, produced a dazzling piece of dribbling in the middle of the park before he was upended by Allan Campbell on the edge of the box, the Motherwell substitute earning a yellow card.

And from the subsequent free-kick, Leigh Griffiths, on as a substitute for Dembele, fired a powerful low shot which Carson pushed away.
Griffiths should have scored with 10 minutes remaining after McGregor slid a pass through the middle for the striker to latch on to, but his shot crashed off the post before Motherwell cleared the danger. And the Celtic No.9 came close with a header on 87 minutes.

Armstrong and Roberts then combined well inside the area, with the former firing a shot across the six-yard box which took a deflection off a Motherwell defender before being saved by Carson. And Roberts, who was causing constant problems down the right since his introduction, shot inches over from just inside the area.

The last chance of the game for Celtic came from the left foot of Tom Rogic, also on as a late substitute, whose shot from the edge of the area was saved by Carson before Motherwell hit the post from a Moult free-kick right on the final whistle.

The League Cup final victory over Motherwell at Hampden is Celtic’s 17th triumph in the competition, and the first time they’ve retained the trophy in 16 years. The Celtic supporters, who filled two-thirds of Hampden, celebrated another trophy success under Brendan Rodgers in the knowledge that the double-treble remains on the cards for the Hoops.

CELTIC: Gordon, Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney; Brown: McGregor (Rogic 88), Armstrong, Forrest (Roberts 77), Dembele (Griffiths 63), Sinclair.
Subs: De Vries, Rogic, Ntcham, Sviatchenko, Ajer.

MOTHERWELL: Carson, Tait, Grimshaw (Tanner 50), Hartley, Cadden, McHugh, Moult, Bowman (Campbell 63), Rose (Frear 70), Dunne, Kipre.
Subs: Griffiths, Hammell, Fisher, Petravicius,




CELTIC will begin their defence of the Scottish Cup with a fourth round tie against Brechin City. The draw today (Monday) gave Brendan Rodgers’ side a home match against the side currently bottom of the Championship.

Last season, a last-minute Tom Rogic goal gave the Hoops a 2-1 victory over Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden, a victory which also secured a domestic treble for Celtic.
The fourth round matches are scheduled for the weekend of January 20/21, 2018. Further details to follow.


Scottish Cup fourth-round draw

Dunfermline Athletic v Greenock Morton

Ayr United v Arbroath

Albion Rovers v St Johnstone

Motherwell v Hamilton Academical

Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian

Livingston v Falkirk

Dundee v Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Formartine United v Cove Rangers

Montrose or Queen of the South v Partick Thistle

Celtic v Brechin City

Peterhead v Dumbarton

East Fife v Brora Rangers

Alloa Athletic v Dundee United

Fraserburgh v Rangers

Aberdeen v St Mirren

Kilmarnock v Ross County

Ties to be played on 20 and 21 January


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Betfred League Cup
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Saturday, October 21, 2017

(Lustig 14, 41, Dembele 65, 87)
(Stokes 60 pen, Shaw 70)

CELTIC booked their place in the League Cup final thanks to two goals apiece from Mikael Lustig and Moussa Dembele as the cup holders defeated Hibernian 4-2 at Hampden. The win also now extends the Hoops’ unbeaten domestic run to 60 games.

Brendan Rodgers made two changes to the side that faced Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League in midweek as Mikael Lustig returned at right-back in place of Cristian Gamboa and Nir Bitton slotted into the centre of defence alongside Dedryck Boyata. The other change saw Callum McGregor in the starting XI alongside Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong in the centre of midfield.

And it took Celtic less than 15 minutes to open the scoring at the National Stadium. The Hibs defence failed to clear Stuart Armstrong’s lofted ball into the Hibs area and Mikael Lustig pounced to side-foot the ball beyond Ross Laidlaw.

Celtic had quickly found their rhythm and began to control the play as they moved up a gear in search of a second goal. They had a chance from a free-kick on the edge of the box after Callum McGregor had been fouled, but Leigh Griffiths’ effort was cleared.

Then Lustig tried a curling effort from the edge of the box which was high and wide.But the Swedish defender was not to be denied a second goal, which arrived three minutes before the break. An out-swinging corner from Griffiths found Lustig in space at the back post and he was able to guide the ball beyond Laidlaw with his right foot.

It was a comfortable first half for Celtic, who dominated possession and controlled the play with wave after wave of attack. Hibs were unable to pose a threat, with Celtic’s pressure making it impossible for them to support Anthony Stokes up front.

The second-half continued in the same vein, with Brendan Rodgers’ side dominating possession and controlling the game, and there looked to be no way back for the Edinburgh side until the 60th minute when they were awarded a controversial penalty.

Dedryck Boyata’s precise and well-timed challenge on Martin Boyle was adjudged by referee Kevin Clancy and his assistant to have been a penalty, much to the astonishment of the Celtic players and just about everyone else in the stadium. Anthony Stokes duly converted the spot-kick.

However, Celtic quickly restored their two-goal advantage when Moussa Dembele, on as a substitute, converted from close-range. At that point, it looked as though the Hoops were home and dry but Neil Lennon’s side continued battling and got their reward when one of their subs, Oliver Shaw, reduced the deficit with a good finish inside the area.

The remaining 20 minutes were played at a frantic pace as both teams pushed for more goals, with Celtic showing great resolve and reserves of energy following their midweek exertions against Bayern Munich.

Dembele was denied another goal by Hibs keeper, Laidlaw, after being put through on goal in the 83rd minute, but with three minutes remaining, he did finish superbly to make it 4-2 and ensure the League Cup holders will return to the National Stadium at the end of November, looking to retain their trophy against the winners of the Motherwell versus Rangers semi-final.

CELTIC (4-3-2-1) Gordon; Lustig, Bitton, Boyata, Tierney; Brown, McGregor, Armstrong (Rogic 73); Roberts (Forrest 60), Sinclair; Griffiths (Dembele 60).
Not Used: De Vries, Ajer, Gamboa, Ntcham,

HIBERNIAN (4-4-1-1) Laidlaw; Gray (Whittaker 45), Hanlon, Stevenson, Ambrose; Bartley (Boyle 45), McGinn, Slivka (Shaw 69), Barker, McGeouch; Stokes.
Not Used: Marciano, Swanson, S. Murray, Porteous

 Season 2017-18 Betfred League cup Round Of Sixteen

League Cup quarter-final
Dens Park, Dundee
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

(Sinclair 24, Forrest 42, 90+2, McGregor 87)

CELTIC took a huge stride forward towards the defence of the League Cup after seeing off a dogged Dundee side 4-0 at Dens Park to progress to the semi-finals of the competition.

The Hoops found the back of the net four times as Brendan Rodgers’ side extended their domestic unbeaten run to 56 games with a convincing and dominant performance.

Scott Sinclair put Celtic ahead midway through the first half with a coolly converted penalty, before James Forrest doubled the lead with an instinctive finish just before half-time.

Substitute Callum McGregor then grabbed a third moments from the end before Forrest scored again as the clock ticked down.Brendan Rodgers made six changes to the side that beat Ross County 4-0 at Paradise on Saturday, with Dedryck Boyata coming in to make his first start of the season for Celtic.

The Belgian internationalist had been absent since sustaining a knee injury in the pre-season friendly against Slavia Prague in early July, and he was stationed at the centre of a defensive back-three alongside Mikael Lustig and Nir Bitton.

Kieran Tierney returned to the side after being rested at the weekend and took up a midfield position on the left, where he troubled the Dundee reaguard all night with his strength and pace down the flank.
Patrick Roberts started in a more central midfield position with Forrest playing out wide on the right.

Olivier Ntcham and Scott Sinclair also returned to the starting XI, which took to the field wearing black armbands in memory of former Celt, Paul Wilson, who passed away earlier in the week at the age of 66.

Neil McCann’s side tried to contain Celtic during the first half but sustained wave after wave of attack from a composed and proficient Hoops team, who were able to exploit weaknesses both down the left and the centre of the Dundee defence.

Ntcham almost put Celtic in front within the first few minutes after receiving the ball from Roberts on the edge of the box. With his back to goal the Frenchman spun round and fired off a low shot which flashed just wide of Bain’s left-hand post.
Scott Brown had an outstanding game and he showed a great burst of pace in the 18th minute when A-Jay Leitch-Smith was through on goal and charging towards Craig Gordon’s box.

The Celtic captain read the danger and was able to sprint back and make a crucial tackle before the Dundee forward pulled the trigger.Celtic got off the mark in the 24th minute thanks to a trademark Sinclair run. The forward’s explosive pace and nimble footwork saw him drive into the Dundee box, where he was brought down by Jack Hendry for a penalty.

Sinclair then waited to see which direction Bain went before calmly placing the ball in the bottom right corner of the net.
Ten minutes later and he almost helped Celtic double their lead. With space out on the left he skipped past a helpless Cammy Kerr and fired a dangerous low ball across the Dundee six-yard box – but there were no takers for the Bhoys.

Dundee were most troubled down the left flank all night with Sinclair and Tierney linking up well and feeding some threatening crosses into the box. Such was the case three-minutes from half time when Tierney read Forrest’s run into the box and picked out the winger with a flashing cross, which Forrest slid in to score his fourth league goal of the season.

In the second half Dundee stepped up their attempts to stifle Celtic’s attack, while Leigh Griffiths intensified his attempts to get on the scoresheet. The Scotland internationalist came close two minutes after the break when a drop of the shoulder created just enough space for him to fire off a powerful shot which was deflected out for a corner

Boyata was replaced by 18-year-old Anthony Ralston after getting a valuable 67 minutes of action under his belt, which will go some way to helping the 26-year-old return to full match sharpness. Ralston slotted into right-back, with Lustig taking up the central position in defence.

Five-minutes later McGregor came on for Roberts as Celtic went in search of a third and the substitute almost found the back of the net moments after coming on. Tierney and Sinclair continued to link-up well and the young full-back picked out McGregor on the edge of the box but his shot was blocked. Forrest then showed great control to collect the loose ball in the box but his half-volleyed attempt was saved by Bain.

McGregor put the tie beyond any doubt in the 87th minute with a ruthless finish into the bottom corner. The substitute burst forward alongside Sinclair, who teed him up on the edge of the box with a great ball which McGregor then fired into the back of the net.

Forrest then scored in added on time with a great shot from the edge of the box into the bottom corner as the Hoops finished with a flourish. Having booked a date at Hampden in October, Celtic will now turn their attentions back to the Scottish Premiership where they will travel to Ibrox on Saturday (September 23) to face third-placed Rangers.

CELTIC (3-4-2-1) Gordon; Lustig, Boyata (Ralston 67), Bitton; Forrest, Brown, Ntcham, Tierney; Roberts (McGregor 72), Sinclair; Griffiths (Edouard 84)
Not Used: De Vries, Armstrong, Hayes, Rogic,

DUNDEE (4-5-1) Bain; Kerr, Holt, O’Dea, Hendry; Leitch-Smith, Kamara, O’Hara, Wolters (Deacon 63) Spence (Megan cGowan 72), BakhtaouBb
Not Used: Parish, Williams, Aurtenetxe, Waddell, Henvey

League Cup second round
Celtic Park, Glasgow
Tuesday, August 8, 2017

(Griffiths 14 pen., 29, Ralston 21, Tierney 66, Armstrong 71)

LEIGH Griffiths made it back-to-back doubles as Celtic ran riot against Kilmarnock in Paradise to book their place in the League Cup quarter-finals.

The striker struck a double in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Hearts and his predatory instincts were on show again as he struck either side of Anthony Ralston’s first goal for the club, first from the penalty spot and then with a typically composed finish to put the Hoops in complete command at the interval.

Kieran Tierney had donned the captain’s armband in the suspended Scott Brown’s absence to become one of the youngest-ever players to skipper the club. And he capped off a memorable night in his career with a truly magnificent goal midway through the second half, the 20-year-old thundering a drive into the top corner from fully 40 yards.

Stuart Armstrong rounded off the scoring from the impressive Ralston’s delivery as Brendan Rodgers’ side made the perfect start to their League Cup defence.

Kundai Benyu made his first competitive start for Celtic as the manager made a number of changes from the team that swept aside Hearts in the opening league match of the season. The 19-year-old, who had featured twice from the bench for the Bhoys since joining from Ipswich Town in the summer, started on the left of an attacking trident, operating behind lone striker Griffiths.

Fellow teenagers Ralston, Kristoffer Ajer and Eboue Kouassi also came into the side, along with Armstrong, Tom Rogic and Jonny Hayes.  Despite all the alterations, the Hoops were swiftly into their stride, with Rogic and Hayes linking up well on the right and forcing a corner.

Griffiths took the resultant set-piece and the onrushing Ajer was on course to connect with the cross until Lee Erwin’s interception.In the 13th minute, Celtic’s early pressure was rewarded with the opening goal. Fantastic foraging work from Hayes saw him rob Jordan Jones of possession and drive into the box.

Attempting to atone for his error, the Kilmarnock winger felled Hayes and referee Alan Muir, after a few seconds deliberation, pointed to the spot.

Up stepped Griffiths and he made no mistake, confidently tucking the ball into the corner.Maintaining their high intensity, Brendan Rodgers’ side continued to pour forward, and some nice interplay between Miller and Armstrong down the left saw the former pick out Griffiths, whose shot was blocked by Kirk Broadfoot.

Griffiths then turned provider, whipping in a dangerous low delivery that Rogic was inches away from reaching in the middle.
Number two soon arrived, however.

Griffiths sent over a corner from the left and Ralston showed great desire to bullet home a header, an unforgettable moment for the boyhood Hoops fan and Celtic Youth Academy graduate.

Still, the one-way traffic continued, with the Rugby Park side barely venturing out of their own half as Celtic’s high-tempo and furious pressing kept them firmly on the back-foot.

After another sweeping passing move, Rogic played in Griffiths, who stung Jamie McDonald’s hands with a rasping drive. But the ever-dangerous Griffiths soon had the ball in the net as the rampant Celts made it 3-0. Tierney’s lofted pass found Griffiths, who had evaded the offside trap, in space and he raced in on goal before calmly slotting the ball past MacDonald.

The hosts should have inflicted further punishment 10 minutes before the break when Griffiths seized upon an errant pass and darted into the box but, with Hayes in space in the middle, the hit-man tried to surprise MacDonald at his near post and the former Hearts keeper was equal to it.

The only blot on the Bhoys’ copybook in a dominant first-half display was a serious-looking injury to Kouassi, which saw the midfielder stretchered down the tunnel six minutes prior to the interval. He was replaced by Olivier Ntcham.

There looked no way back for Lee McCulloch’s side but Celtic were not content to see out the contest as they went in search for more goals after the restart.

Following nimble footwork from Miller, MacDonald came to the visitors’ rescue with a wonderful low save from Armstrong’s curling effort. Armstrong looked keen to get on the act and he saw another shot charged down after a slick pass from Benyu.

Then it was time for Tierney to take centre-stage and score an early contender for goal of the season. From fully 40 yards, the 20-year-old unleashed a thunderbolt into the top corner. Celtic Park erupted to acclaim a truly sensational strike.

Brendan Rodgers’ side were far from finished, however, as Armstrong was rewarded for his persistence with number five. Ralston was the architect, overlapping down the right and supplying the midfielder at the far post and his cushioned volley found the net.

Only some heroic goalkeeping from MacDonald and last-ditch defending denied Celtic adding to their tally as they maintained their supremacy until the final whistle.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Ralston, Ajer, Tierney, Miller; Kouassi (Ntcham 39),Armstrong; Hayes, Rogic, Benyu (McGregor 70); Griffiths (Forrest 63)
Not Used: De Vries, Bitton, Sinclair, Lustig

KILMARNOCK (4-5-1) MacDonald; Wilson (O’Donnell 58), Greer, Broadfoot, Taylor; Burke, McKenzie, Power, Frizzell, Jones (Graham 46); Erwin
Not Used:  Bell, Boyd, Thomas, Waters, Samizadeh

Scottish League Cup quarter-final draw:
Hibernian v Livingston
Motherwell v Aberdeen
Dundee v Celtic
Partick Thistle v Rangers
Ties to be played on 19/20/21 September

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Scottish Premiership
Hampden, Glasgow
Sunday, April 23, 2016

(McGregor 11, Sinclair pen. 51)

GOALS in either half from Callum McGregor and Scott Sinclair saw a dominant Celtic dispatch Rangers 2-0 at Hampden to book their place in the Scottish Cup final.

McGregor’s composed finish from 18 yards put the Hoops into an early lead after they had made a blistering start to proceedings.And Sinclair put them in complete command when he converted from the penalty spot six minutes into the second half following James Tavernier’s foul on Leigh Griffiths in the box.

Brendan Rodgers’ side had further chances to add to their tally, with Tom Rogic striking the woodwork as the clock ticked down, but that mattered little as the green-and-white end of the National Stadium exploded in celebration at the final whistle.

It was another moment to savour in a stellar first season in charge for the Irishman, with the League Cup and a sixth successive title already secured and a domestic clean sweep now only one victory away. Aberdeen will lie in wait in the final on May 27.

Patrick Roberts came into the starting XI to make his 50th appearance for the club. His inclusion was one of three changes to the team that extended the club’s unbeaten run in domestic football this season to 40 matches away to Ross County last weekend.

Dedryck Boyata was restored to the heart of the rearguard and Mikael Lustig came in at right-back as the Bhoys reverted to a back-four for the clash. Erik Sviatchenko, James Forrest and Rogic all dropped to the bench.

Celtic started with real purpose and drive, immediately taking the game to the Ibrox side and winning an early corner that Moussa Dembele headed wide. Moments later, a reckless lunge from Andy Halliday on Roberts saw the Rangers midfielder enter the book. He was lucky to avoid a red. It couldn’t halt the Hoops’ momentum, however.

Stuart Armstrong was next to threaten as the one-way traffic continued, the midfielder curling a shot inches wide from 20 yards.In the 11th minute, the Bhoys made the breakthrough. Lustig launched a raking ball over the top for Dembele, who held the ball up, before teeing up McGregor, who coolly stroked the ball into the far corner beyond the statuesque Wes Foderingham.

It was wholly deserved lead and Brendan Rodgers’ side kept up the pressure, with Armstrong, Scott Brown and McGregor dictating proceedings from midfield as Celtic completely bossed possession. Dembele, who had caused the Rangers rearguard consternation with his pace and power, headed over from Scott Sinclair’s set-piece but his game to a premature end just before the half-hour mark.

Earning a corner with a clever back-heel, the striker went down holding his hamstring and was unable to continue, with Griffiths eventually taking his place after a period of five minutes.

Once Brendan Rodgers’ side regrouped, they continued their dominance, and Roberts had a free-kick saved by Foderingham at his near post after he had been felled by Myles Beerman, who was perhaps fortunate not collect a second yellow card.

It until four minutes before the interval for the Ibrox side to fashion their first shot on goal when Miller blazed a half-volley over from distance. To try and stem the Celtic tide, Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha made a double switch at half-time, introducing Barrie McKay and Joe Dodoo, but the same pattern continued.

Within six minutes of the restart, the Hoops had doubled their advantage. Racing onto a through ball, Griffiths was sent tumbling in the box by James Tavernier as he bore down on goal.

Referee Willie Collum had no option other than to award the penalty, and Sinclair made no mistake from the spot, his shot finding the net despite the best efforts of Foderingham who got a hand to the ball.A flurry of chances then followed for the champions, who were now cutting open Rangers at will, much to the delight of a buoyant Celtic support.

Foderingham made a magnificent save to push over Griffiths’ volley after a terrific piece of control from the striker, and Boyata headed narrowly over from Jozo Simunovic’s knockdown.

Foderingham then came to his team’s rescue, producing smart saves from the impressive Roberts and Griffiths. Rangers briefly rallied in the closing stages, with Miller having a header saved by Gordon and looping a shot over. Martyn Waghorn also spurned a couple of opportunities as Caixinha’s team mounted some desperate late attacks.

But the last word almost fell to the champions as substitute Tom Rogic cannoned a thumping drive struck the the post from 20 yards as Celtic finished as they had started, the final whistle prompting wild celebrations on the pitch and in the stands.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney; Armstrong, Brown; Roberts (Forrest 82), McGregor (Rogic 75), Sinclair; Dembele (Griffiths 34)
Not Used: Bailly, Gamboa, Sviatchenko, Kouassi

RANGERS (4-2-3-1) Foderingham; Tavernier, Bates, Wilson, Beerman; Hyndman (Windass 79), Holt, Halliday (McKay 46), Miller; Garner (Dodoo 46); Waghorn
Not Used: Alnwick, Hill, Toral, Hodson


The semi-final ties will be played on April 22/23.

Celtic and Rangers will meet in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden, while holders Hibernian face Aberdeen in the other last four match.


William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-finals
Celtic Park, Glasgow
Sunday, March 5, 2017

(Lustig 58, Sinclair 59, Dembele 68, Griffiths 78)
(Davis 13)

CELTIC staged a superb second-half fightback to put a spirited St Mirren side to the sword and book their place in the Scottish Cup semi-finals.The Hoops failed to find their normal fluency in the first half and trailed to Harry Davis’ goal at the interval but they rallied after the break to turn the match aroundMikael Lustig and Scott Sinclair scored twice in the space of 60 seconds to put the Hoops ahead before the hour-mark.

And Moussa Dembele and substitute Leigh Griffiths sealed the victory in the closing stages to book their spot in the draw for the last four of the competition and extend their unbeaten domestic run this season to 34 matches.Brendan Rodgers had kept faith with the same team that dispatched Inverness Caley Thistle so impressively on Wednesday night which extended the champions’ advantage at the top of the table to 27 points.

The in-form Dembele, who had bagged a brace in the Highlands, again led the line, with Gary Mackay-Steven and Sinclair providing close support from the flanks.There was a poignant start to proceedings as Paradise remembered Celtic legend Tommy Gemmell, who sadly passed away on Thursday at the age of 73, with an impeccably observed minute’s silence.The Lisbon Lion won three Scottish Cups during his illustrious career in the Hoops and the current Celtic team showed their intent to go all the way in the competition this season as they made a brisk start to the match.

In the third minute, Mackay-Steven dispossessed Stelios Demetriou and raced into the box before the cutting the ball back for Stuart Armstrong, whose low shot was saved by Billy O’BrienThrough the pace of Sinclair, Dembele and Mackay-Steven, the Hoops were looking a real threat when they drove at the Buddies’ backline, and Mackay Steven was unable to capitalise when Armstrong played him in down the inside-right channel.

But Celtic were stunned in the 13th minute when the Championship club opened the scoring. Following a quickly-taken free-kick, Cameron Smith’s deep cross was nodded back across goal by John Sutton and Harry Davis was left unmarked in the middle to apply the simple finish.It was the first goal the Hoops had conceded in four games and they took some time to rediscover their rhythm. On the half-hour mark, they sparked into life again. Mackay-Steven broke down the right and picked out Sinclair in the box. He teed-up Scott Brown and the captain’s left-foot shot flew wide of the far post.

Celtic then looked to be denied a strong penalty claim when a high boot from Demetriou caught Mackay-Steven in the face as he attempted to reach a loose ball following a corner, referee Steven McLean unmoved by the protests. Brendan Rodgers’ side were growing in ascendency again as half-time approached and they should have been level at the break, but Dembele could only hold his hands in frustration after scuffing a shot inches past the post.

Patrick Roberts, back in the squad after a month on the treatment table, replaced Mackay-Steven at the interval as the home side started the second half with real urgency, with Dembele firing wide after a driven cross from Mikael Lustig.The Paisley side were playing with plenty of spirit, however, and they emerged from their defensive shell to create a flurry of chances at the other end.

First, Sutton had a shot deflected over after Dedryck Boyata’s clearance and fell to him in the box, and then Dembele’s attemped clearance from Mallon’s low free-kick cannoned off the underside of the bar, with Davis unable to divert the rebound home from an acute angle.Those misses proved costly as Celtic turned the game around in the space of 60 seconds. After Demetriou had fouled substitute Griffiths on the right, Roberts floated in the free-kick and Lustig rose highest to glance a header into the far corner.

When St Mirren tried to launch an attack straight from the restart, Celtic won back possession and countered. Griffiths drilled a pass out to Sinclair on the left and the wide-man burst into the box and curled an exquisite finish into the far corner.It was all Celtic now and only a last-ditch challenge from Gary Irvine denied Sinclair hitting the target again after Griffiths had picked him out again from the left.

Midway through the half, Brendan Rodgers side effectively put the result beyond doubt with a wonderfully-worked goal. Sinclair raced into the box to collect a return pass from Roberts and then supplied Dembele in the middle who made no mistake. The lively Lewis Morgan replied for Jack Ross’ side with a curling shot that flew wide but the Bhoys were now playing some stylish, free-flowing football, and after a series of first-time passes, Dembele was close to his second when he struck the outside of the post.

Goal number four arrived 12 minutes from time through a trademark strike from Griffiths. The hit-man received the ball 25 yards of goal and lashed a powerful shot beyond O’Brien.Kouassi Eboue came off the bench to make his Celtic bow, and Boyata and Griffiths both had goals disallowed in the final 10 minutes as the Hoops finished on top and kept their ambitions of a domestic clean sweep alive.

CELTIC (4-3-3) Gordon; Lustig, Boyata, Sviatchenko, Tierney; Brown, Bitton (Griffiths 54), Armstrong (Kouassi 77); Mackay-Steven (Roberts 46), Dembele, Sinclair
Not Used: De Vries, Simunovic, Gamboa, McGregor

ST MIRREN (4-4-1-1) O’Brien; Irvine, Davis, MacKenzie (Baird 75) Demetriou; Magennis (Storie 84), McGinn, Mallon, Morgan; Smith; Sutton (Loy 70)
Not Used: Langfield, Webster, Fjelde, O’Keefe

Scottish Cup quarter-final draw

Aberdeen v Partick Thistle

Celtic v St Mirren

Hearts or Hibernian v Ayr United or Clyde

Rangers v Dunfermline Athletic or Hamilton Academical

Ties to be played over the weekend of 4/5 March.

Scottish Cup fifth round
Celtic Park, Glasgow
Saturday, February 2, 2017
(Lustig 21, Dembele 45, 50, 59, Tierney 86, Brown 90+1)

MOUSSA Dembele made it back-to-back hat-tricks for Celtic after his quick-fire treble helped the Hoops beat Inverness Caley Thistle 6-0 to book their spot in the Scottish Cup last eight and extend their domestic unbeaten run to 30 matches.Last Sunday against St Johnstone the striker took 24 minutes to complete this three-goal haul but this time he only required 14 minutes to repeat the feat as his sensational debut season with the champions continued.

Mikael Lustig’s deft finish had put the Hoops deservedly ahead, following superb supply work from Nir Bitton, before Dembele got in on the act on the stroke of half-time when Owain Fon Williams was unable to keep out his low shot.He made it 3-0 early in the second half with a measured finish and completed his hat-trick with a powerful header after meeting a cross from the outstanding James Forrest.

Forrest again turned provider as Kieran Tierney struck number five, before captain Scott Brown piled on the visitors’ misery by lashing the ball into the top corner in the dying seconds as Paradise stood to acclaim another dazzling display. Still on track for a domestic clean sweep, Brendan Rodgers’ side will now take their place in tomorrow’s (Sunday) draw for the quarter-finals of the competition.

There were two changes to the side that beat St Johnstone 5-2 at McDiarmid Park last weekend, with Forrest restored to the side and hat-trick hero, Dembele, leading the line. Patrick Roberts and Gary Mackay-Steven were the players to drop out, with the latter named among the substitutes.Liam Henderson, who opened the scoring last Sunday, retained his place in the starting XI and it was the young midfielder who threatened first for the Bhoys when he fired wide from 20 yards inside the opening 60 seconds.

As Celtic continued to make the early running, Tierney was next to try his luck but he was unable to control his half-volley after a surging run from Forrest down the right.After this initial flurry of chances, however, the Hoops had to be content with bossing possession as the visitors threw men behind the ball and tightly-marked several Hoops forwards, such as Scott Sinclair, who was followed by David Raven wherever he roamed.

But in the 21st minute they unlocked the Inverness rearguard to open the scoring after a piece of superb invention from Bitton and Lustig. The Israeli internationalist picked out the run of the right-back with a sublime lofted pass, and Lustig controlled it an instant before cleverly flicking the ball into the net.The champions looked keen to quickly inflict further punishment, with Henderson curling a shot over and Forrest having an attempt blocked by the backtracking Gary Warren.

To try and stem the Celtic tide, Richie Foran’s side restored to some roughhouse tactics, with Carl Tremarco, Ross Draper, Iain Vigurs all seeing yellow for reckless challenges in the space of eight minutes.
Apart from increasing their card count, it had no affect on the flow of the match as Brendan Rodgers’ side remained in complete control and Warren became the fourth Inverness player to enter the book for a foul on Dembele.

Playing with his usual vigour, Henderson continued to supplement the attack and he found himself in another good position as half-time approached, but he couldn’t keep his a shot down after good work from Sinclair.Moments before the interval, Celtic doubled their advantage. Forrest was the architect, leaving Tremarco for dead and teeing up Dembele, whose low effort crept under Owain Fon Williams and trickled over the line.

It only took the Hoops five minutes of the second period to add to their tally. The visitors failed to clear their lines and when Raven’s last-gasp challenge on Sinclair rolled invitingly into the path of Dembele, he dispatched the ball into the corner.It now looked a matter of how many more goals Celtic would score as Fon Williams saved smartly from Henderson, following some slick, one-touch build-up play, and Bitton dragged a shot wide.

Just before the hour-mark, the Highlanders’ resistance crumbed again. As the home side surged forward on the counter, Dembele swept a pass wide to Forrest on the right. The winger reached the byline and delivered an inviting cross which the onrushing Dembele headed emphatically into the net for his second treble in the space of six days.
The impressive Forrest should have got on the act himself in the 68th minute after he dispossessed the dithering Brad McKay but he drilled inches wide with only Fon Williams to beat.

Vigurs belatedly blasted wide for the away side, before Dembele and Brown came close. In the closing stages, the Hoops broke through again as Tierney powered a header into the net from Forrest’s centre.
And right at the death, Brown smashed the ball beyond Fon Williams after Sinclair had wreaked havoc on the left as the Celtic juggernaut rolled on.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Boyata (Toure 88), Sviatchenko, Tierney; Bitton, Brown; Forrest, Henderson (McGregor 66), Sinclair; Dembele (Ciftci 81)
Not Used: De Vries, Izaguirre, Gamboa, Mackay-Steven

INVERNESS CALEY THISTLE (4-5-1) Fon Williams; Raven, Warren, McKay, Tremarco; King (Mulraney 54), Draper (Cole 64), Tansey, Vigurs, Anier; Billy McKay (Ebbe 64)
Not Used: Hoban, Polworth, Fisher, Boden

Scottish Cup fifth round draw:

Dunfermline v Hamilton

Raith Rovers or Hearts v Hibernian

St Johnstone v Partick Thistle

Ayr United or Queens Park v Stirling Albion or Clyde

East Fife v St Mirren

Ross County v Aberdeen

Celtic v Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Rangers v Greenock Morton



Scottish Cup fourth round
Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
Sunday, January 22, 2017


(Sinclair 30, Dembele 77, Armstrong 90)

MOUSSA Dembele struck his 20th goal of the season as Celtic cruised past Albion Rovers at the Excelsior Stadium to book their place in the Scottish Cup last 16.

The prolific striker doubled the Hoops’ advantage with 13 minute left on the clock in Airdrie after Scott Sinclair had put them in charge before the break with wonderful shot into the top corner.

And there was still time for Stuart Armstrong to seal the victory after some super work by substitute Patrick Roberts as Brendan Rodgers’ side extended their unbeaten domestic record to 25 matches on their resumption of competitive duty following the winter shutdown.

Kieran Tierney made a welcome return to the side after a three-month absence with an ankle injury as Brendan Rodgers made four changes to the team that earned Glasgow derby success in the final league match of 2016.

Cristian Gamboa, Dedryck Boyata and Nir Bitton also came into the starting XI, with Jozo Simunovic, the suspended Erik Sviatchenko, Emilio Izaguirre and Callum McGregor dropping out from the team that won at Ibrox.

Once the frenzy of the opening exchanges had died down, the match soon settled into a predictable pattern, with Celtic dominating possession and probing for openings against a tightly-packed Albion Rovers defence.

Bitton registered the Hoops’ first attempt on goal in the 11th minute, the midfielder lashing over from distance before Armstrong tested goalkeeper Ross Stewart with a curling effort from the edge of the box.

Moussa Dembele headed narrowly over from Lustig’s ball over the top and James Forrest could only glance wide from Tierney’s pinpoint cross but the Coatbridge side held firm and resolutely remained in their defensive shape.

Some slick link-up play from Dembele and Scott Sinclair almost prised open the sea of yellow and red but the latter was unable to take the return pass in his stride as the pressure continued.

The pair combined to good effect again in the 25th minute and this time Stewart had to make a smart save to deny Sinclair from an acute angle.

The League One side’s brave resistance was eventually broken five minutes later thanks to a moment of magic from Sinclair. Collecting a pass from Tierney on the angle of the box, he took a touch and then curled in an exquisite shot into the top corner beyond the despairing dive of Stewart.

Brendan Rodgers’ side went in search of further reward before the break and Sinclair had the ball in the net again after Bitton had threaded a pass through the heart of the Albion backline, but the offside flag cut short the celebrations.

Sinclair was the man doing the damage again early in the second half, driving along the byline and picking out Forrest in the box, whose low shot was well-saved by Stewart.

Forrest turned provider in the next Hoops raid, teeing up Armstrong, who swept inches over from 18 yards.

The Cliftonhill club remained camped deep in their own half as the contest developed into an exercise between defence and attack, and Gamboa was next to try his luck after another long spell of possession, the right-back driving wide of the far post.

As the game entered its closing stages, Celtic started to find more gaps in the tiring home rearguard – Dembele saw a shot beaten away from a tight angle and Boyata was unfortunate to see a header cannon off the underside of the bar from Callum McGregor’s inviting cross.

Jozo Simunovic, on at the start of the second half for Mikael Lustig, then saw a clever flick cleared off the line – but moments later the champions killed off the contest.

Patrick Roberts left two opponents for dead with a sublime piece of skill and fed the onrushing Scott Brown and when the captain cut the ball back from the byline, Dembele was on hand to force the ball home.

Armstrong had a shot saved by Stewart as the clock ticked down but the midfielder wasn’t to be denied, converting Roberts’ cutback at the death as the Celts marched on in the cup and kept their hopes alive of a domestic clean sweep.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Gamboa, Lustig (Simunovic 46), Boyata, Tierney (McGregor 61); Bitton, Brown; Forrest (Roberts 74), Armstrong, Sinclair; Dembele
Not Used: De Vries, Izaguirre, Mackay-Steven, Christie

ALBION ROVERS (4-5-1) R.Stewart; Reid, R. Dunlop, M. Dunlop, Turnbull (McCann 79); R.C. Stewart (Ferguson 65), Fisher, Ferry (Gilmour 74), McBride; Willis
Not Used: Sheilds, Potts, Archibald, Lightbody

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Betfred League Cup final
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Sunday, November 27, 2016

(Rogic 16, Forrest 37, Dembele 64 pen.)

CELTIC lifted the 100th major honour of its illustrious history today at Hampden after clinically putting Aberdeen to the sword in the League Cup final.Tom Rogic opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a sublime curling shot and James Forrest rifled in number two before half time after his electric speed had ripped the Dons defence part.

And after the impressive Forrest had been felled in the box by Anthony O’Connor, Moussa Dembele confidently stroked home the resultant penalty for his 17th goal of the season to end the Pittodrie side’s resistance.The final whistle was the spark for jubilant celebrations on the pitch and in the stands as Brendan Rodgers claimed his first trophy as manager of the club and the champions secured the first silverware of the season.

Patrick Roberts and Forrest came into the Celtic starting XI as the manager made two changes to the team that took on Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.Roberts replaced Callum McGregor on the right of an attacking trident, while Forrest started on the left in place of the injured Scott Sinclair, the winger having picked up a knock just before half-time against the Catalan giants.

And the duo saw plenty of the ball in the early exchanges as the Hoops bossed possession, probing for openings, while Aberdeen deployed plenty of personnel behind the ball and attempted to hit on the counter.Having fastened onto a pass from Roberts in the box, Forrest had a penalty appeal waved away after he went down under Shay Logan’s challenge, but it took until the 13th minute for the Bhoys to create their first sight of goal following a flowing move down the left.

Stuart Armstrong picked out the overlapping run of Emilio Izaguirre and the Honduran’s inviting delivery was met powerfully by Dembele but Joe Lewis made a smart stop to push his header away, with Rogic firing the rebound over from 20 yards.Rarely had the Dons ventured forward but just moments after James Maddison had a shot from distance blocked by Erik Sviatchenko, Celtic raced up the park and broke the deadlock.

Jozo Simunovic showed terrific determination to drive through the middle and find Rogic lurking on the angle of the box. The Australian internationalist cut inside onto his favoured left-foot and curled an exquisite shot into the far corner beyond Lewis’ despairing dive.
The Pittodrie side replied with a glancing header from Andrew Considine following Maddison’s free-kick but Craig Gordon was equal to it.

Brendan Rodgers’ side continued to look the greater threat and only a last-gasp challenge by Ash Taylor prevented Dembele playing in Roberts after some fantastic foraging from Rogic to steal back possession.Following an incisive burst inside from Roberts, Forrest also shot inches wide from the edge of the box but the Scotland internationalist wasn’t to be denied as he quickly doubled the advantage.

Collecting Rogic’s pass just inside the Aberdeen half, the wide-man drove at the heart of the Dons backline. His pace took him past Anthony O’Connor and into the box where his clinical finish left Lewis helpless.As the Celtic support rejoiced at their team’s commanding position, Derek McInnes’ side produced their most sustained spell of pressure as half-time approached, though Adam Rooney’ wayward shot from 18 yards was all they could muster.

With Aberdeen having to adopt a more cavalier approach after the restart, there were greater gaps for the Hoops to exploit and Forrest and Dembele threatened to profit from Roberts’ header across goal.With Jonny Hayes more prominent on the left, the Dons had a brief flurry as they launched some balls into the box but aside from Kenny McLean’s header which flew over, the Celtic rearguard held firm.

And just after the hour-mark, they effectively killed off the contest. Rogic spotted Forrest’s run and the winger reached the ball before O’Connor who sent him tumbling to the ground. Referee John Beaton pointed immediately to the spot and Dembele coolly dispatched the penalty, sending Lewis the wrong way. Stuart Armstrong spurned a late opportunity to inflict further punishment on the Pittodrie outfit when lashing inches wide, with Forrest again the architect, but that couldn’t dampen the delight among the players, management team and supporters as the showpiece ended in a deserved triumph for the champions.

CELTIC (4-1-2-3) Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Sviatchenko, Izaguirre; Brown; Rogic (McGregor 77), Armstrong; Roberts (Bitton 66), Dembele, Forrest (Griffiths 90)
Not Used: De Vries, Toure, Gamboa, Mackay-Steven

ABERDEEN (4-1-2-3) Lewis; Logan, Taylor, O’Connor (Stockley 65) Considine; Jack; Shinnie, McLean; Hayes (McGinn 71), Rooney (Burns 79), Maddison
Not Used: Alexander, Reynolds, Pawlett, Storey



Scottish League Cup semi-final
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Sunday October 23, 2016

(Dembele 87)

MOUSSA Dembele’s cultured close-range finish in the dying minutes of the Glasgow derby League Cup semi-final gave Celtic a deserved 1-0 win over Rangers and booked Brendan Rodgers’ side’s place in the first final of the season.After almost 45 minutes of relentless pressure in the second-half, the Hoops’ determination and perseverance finally paid off with three minutes left on the clock when the young Frenchman applied a deft finish to substitute Leigh Griffiths’ cut-back.

The goal was a piece of individual brilliance from Dembele but capped off true team performance from the Celts on a day where their belief in attacking football was eventually rewarded with a berth in the final against Aberdeen at the end of November.The match had all the usual fervour, colour and sound of a Glasgow derby and started with Celtic coming out the blocks at full speed, looking to influence proceedings early on with their quick passing style and width down the flanks.

An early through ball from Nir Bitton to Kieran Tierney into the left channel indicated the Hoops’ game plan but the Ibrox side had their own share of possession on the wings as both sides battled for supremacyBrendan Rodgers’ team played much of the opening 15 minutes on the counter-attack but that approach still provided dividends, with Tom Rogic influential in midfield, springing the Bhoys’ moves forward.

The Australian was unlucky to see an early shot deflected out for a corner before the first big decision of the match was made when Rangers’ Barrie McKay was booked for a dive in the box under a challenge from Jozo Simunovic, Celtic’s only change for the match from their mid-week European clash.Scott Sinclair could have then opened the scoring for the Hoops moments later when a wonderful through pass from Moussa Dembele sent the winger scarpering into the box unmarked but Matt Gilks saved well with his legs.

Gilks then almost gave the opener away when his poor touch in the six yard box gifted the ball to Rogic but the midfielder took a touch with his right before shooting, allowing Gilks to get back on his feet and make the save.Rangers gradually grew more into the game but rarely threatened the Celtic penalty area. Rogic meanwhile was a constant threat with his ability to take the ball on the turn regularly bamboozling the Ibrox side’s midfield and he was unfortunate with another curling effort just before the half hour mark which crept past the post after another excellent sprint forward.

As the game approached half-time Celtic began to dominate possession and pepper the Rangers penalty area with crosses and passes, with Scott Brown breaking up any bid to counter-attack from the Ibrox side. The jittery Rangers rearguard held on, however, with the teams locked in a goalless stalemate at the interval.All that looked to have changed within minutes of the restart when Erik Sviatchenko placed a header into the bottom corner after Sinclair’s pinpoint cross but he was adjudged to have fouled his marker and the effort was cancelled out.

Sinclair was then denied by Gilks again after gathering a one-two with Rogic as the Bhoys roared forward on wave after wave of attack.Rangers responded with a piercing counter-attack that saw Simunovic block Jason Holt’s goal-bound shot brilliantly before Craig Gordon did well to gather a swerving effort from McKay that spun through a mass of bodies in the Celtic penalty area.Stuart Armstrong’s introduction in place of Bitton after 60 minutes gave Rogic more licence to roam around the Rangers penalty box while also injecting more pace into the Hoops central midfield area as the Celts sought a way to break the deadlock.

The Bhoys again went agonisingly close to doing that again when Brown won a free-kick 20 yards out for his team but Sinclair’s curling set-piece smashed the cross bar and fell kindly for Gilks to gather.More attacking options were added to the Celts frontline when Leigh Griffiths came on for Rogic as the one-way traffic continued. The Edinburgh man got straight into the action, cutting back a low cross into the Rangers box from the right but there were no takers.

Celtic continued to spurn chances as Forrest and Dembele sent efforts wide of goal as time ebbed away and Rangers retreated further back but the fresh legs of Martyn Waghorn and Joe Garner forced the Hoops to be cautious at the back as they relentlessly threw bodies forward.The legs of Gilks again thwarted the Bhoys as Armstrong’s angled shot was deflected away but the pressure eventually paid off for the Scottish champions when a moment of pure class from Dembele shattered Rangers’ resistance with three minutes left.

An arching long pass was cannoned forward from the Hoops defence to the feet of Griffiths and the striker made a direct run for the box. Dembele also powered into the area and he was expertly picked out by Griffiths’ curled cut-back, which the Frenchman finished with aplomb, stroking the ball through the legs of Gilks with the instep of his trailing leg as he ran towards the front post.It was an exquisite finish from the striker and gave Celtic a deserved lead that was enough to book their place in the final against Aberdeen on Sunday November 27.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1): Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Sviatchenko, Tierney; Bitton (Armstrong 63), Brown; Forrest (Gamboa 90), Rogic (Griffiths 70), Sinclair; Dembele
Not used: De Vries, Toure, Roberts, McGregor

RANGERS (4-3-3) Gilks; Hodson, Hill, Kiernan, Wallace; Windass (Garner 70), Halliday, Holt; Tavernier, Miller (Waghorn 70), McKay (Dodoo 78)
Not used: Foderingham, Crooks, Senderos, O’Halloran,

Following agreement today with all four competing clubs, the semi-finals of the 2016/17 Betfred Cup will take place as follows:

Saturday 22 October, 2016
Morton v Aberdeen
Hampden Park
Live on BT Sport, kick-off 12.15pm

Sunday 23 October, 2016
Rangers v Celtic
Hampden Park
Live on BT Sport, kick-off 2.15pm

In the event of a draw after normal time in either tie, extra time of 30 minutes (i.e. 15 minutes each way) will take place and thereafter, if necessary, penalty kicks.

As previously announced, the final of the 2016/17 Betfred Cup will take place on Sunday 27 November at Hampden Park, live on BT Sport.


Betfred League Cup quarter-final

Celtic Park, Glasgow
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

(Forrest 83, Dembele 90)

PERSISTENCE paid off for Celtic after late goals from James Forrest and Moussa Dembele saw them see off a spirited Alloa Athletic in a completely one-sided contest and book their spot in the League Cup semi-finals.The Hoops bombarded Jack Ross’ side from the first whistle but a mixture of superb goalkeeping from Neil Parry and some wasteful finishing saw the game remain goal-less as the game entered the final 10 minutesBut Forrest’s run and shot finally broke the deadlock in the 83rd minute, much to the relief of home crowd, and Dembele’s emphatic finish sealed the Bhoys’ place in tomorrow’s (Thursday) draw for the last-four of the competition.

Jozo Simunovic made his first Celtic start since January 23, having returned to action for the Scottish champions as a second-half substitute Sunday’s 2-2 draw away to Inverness Caley Thistle.
The inclusion of the Croat was one of five changes to the team that lined up in the Highlands, with Craig Gordon returning between the sticks for the first time since the UEFA Champions League play-off away to Hapoel Be’er Sheva last month.

Kolo Toure, Stuart Armstrong and Forrest also came into the team, while Dorus De Vries, Erik Sviatchenko, Cristian Gamboa, Callum McGregor and Scott Sinclair all dropped out.Celtic could have been ahead within 30 seconds as they immediately took the game to their League One opponents. Forrest sped down the left, cut inside the box and then picked out Tom Rogic, whose shot was saved by Neil Parry.

It was one-way traffic in the opening stages as the Hoops kept pouring forward – Dembele headed Lustig’s cross over, Kieran Tierney drove straight at Parry and Rogic was unable to keep a half-volley down.Parry was called into action again in the 13th minute, reacting swiftly to make a low save after Dembele had flicked Lustig’s cut-back towards the far corner.

Former Celtic youngster Greig Spence registered the Wasps’ first shot on goal in the 15th minute with an ambitious effort from distance but Gordon was equal to it. In the 25th minute, somehow the visitors survived as Celtic had another flurry of chances. First, Parry came to his team’s rescue when he blocked Forrest’s close-range effort, before defender Andy Graham made a last-ditch block to deny Dembele after he had met Tierney’s low cutback.

The young left-back has been full of vigour from the kick off, rampaging forward at every opportunity. Just before the half-hour mark, he almost opened the scoring with a thunderous half-volley from the angle of the box that crashed off the bar.Armstrong and Rogic tried in vain from long-range but still the breakthrough remained elusive as half-time approached. And there was further frustration for the Bhoys and Forrest in particular after he spurned a golden chance.

Lustig brilliantly picked out the winger in space in the box but he could only steer his shot wide with the outside of his right foot.
For all Celtic’s incessant pressure, Gordon, who moments earlier had been booked for fouling Spence outside the area, had to make a smart save from Ben Gordon after the centre-half had connected with Waters’ free-kick just before the break, leaving the scores even at the interval.

Scott Sinclair was introduced for Roberts at the start of the second half and the 27-year-old only took three minutes to show his shooting skills.Cutting in from the left, he eventually took aim from 20 yards and his powerful shot flashed inches wide of the post. Thrusting forward from defence, Simunovic tried something similar shortly after but his attempt flew high and wide.

When the normally reliable Sinclair endured the same fate following Forrest’s cutback moments later, it looked as though it could be one of ‘those’ nights.Even when the Hoops did carve a way through the battling Alloa backline, they were coming up against a keeper in inspired form. Breaking quickly from an Alloa corner, Armstrong found Rogic, who fed the ball through for Dembele but Parry was out quickly and blocked the striker’s lofted effortSimunovic headed wide from Sinclair’s corner, Tierney dragged a shot wide and Rogic was booked for simulation when he looked to have been clipped in the box by Jim Goodwin. Armstrong and Rogic were off target from long-range and Forrest saw a low shot saved by Parry as Alloa continued their heroic defence.

Ryan Christie entered the fray for Simunovic to add further firepower but still Alloa held out, with Parry producing another superb stop at his near post from Forrest.But the winger and Celtic finally got the rewards for their utter dominance. Released down the right by Christie’s cross-field pass, Forrest drove into the box and found the corner of the net with his left foot.And there was still time for Dembele to hammer in a second goal as the clock ticked down, the French hit-man leaving Graham for dead and smashing the ball into the top corner.

CELTIC (4-3-3) Gordon; Lustig, Toure, Simunovic (Christie 70), Tierney; Armstrong, Brown, Rogic (Sviatchenko 85); Roberts (Sinclair 46), Dembele, Forrest
Not Used: De Vries, Bitton, Gamboa, Henderson

ALLOA (4-5-1) Parry; Taggart, Gordon, Graham, Waters; Cawley (Holmes 78) Goodwin (Longworth 84) Robertson, Kirkpatrick; Flannigan, Spence
Not Used: McDowall, Wilson, Hoggan, Marr, Scullion


Celtic thrashed Motherwell 5-0 at Parkhead on Wednesday night to reach the quarter-finals of the Betfred Cup.
Tom Rogic and Moussa Dembele both scored twice and Scott Sinclair was also on target as Brendan Rodgers’ side progressed to the last eight.



Scottish Cup semi-final
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Sunday, April 17, 2016

(Sviatchenko 50, Rogic 106)
(Miller 16, McKay 96)
[Penalties: Celtic 4 – 5 Rangers]

THE lottery of penalty-kicks saw Celtic bow out of the Scottish Cup today to Rangers at the penultimate hurdle. After falling behind early in the first-half of normal time to Kenny Miller’s accurate finish, the Hoops battled back and drew level through Erik Sviatchenko after a blistering start to the second-half.

The champions persevered as the game wore on and won a late chance to seal their place in the final with a header from Nir Bitton, but extra-time beckoned and the Bhoys found themselves behind again after Barrie McKay sent a powerful long-range strike past Craig Gordon in the first-half of the extra 30 minutes.

The Hoops showed true fighting spirit, however, and got back into the game at 2-2 through substitute Tom Rogic’s fine finish in the box before Leigh Griffiths clipped the crossbar with a stunning free-kick.Normal time and extra-time was not enough to decide the game, however, and the match went to penalties where the Ibrox side triumphed 5-4 after Rogic sent his spot kick over.

It was a heartbreaking end to a largely frustrating game for the Celts, who will now look to wrap up the SPFL Premiership for the fifth time in a row as quickly as possible.
Celtic made just one change to the team from the side that beat Motherwell 2-1 in the league last weekend, with Gary Mackay-Steven returning to the starting XI in place of Colin Kazim-Richards. The former Dundee United winger had missed the victory over the Steelmen but was restored to the left side of attack in support of striker Leigh Griffiths.

The match saw a Hampden debut for Patrick Roberts as well as a landmark 100th appearance for Craig Gordon in the Celtic goal, who was called into action early on to stop Kenny Miller opening the scoring as the Ibrox side started the match on the front foot.
The striker gathered a ball over the top of the Hoops defence, took a touch and shot at goal but Gordon had narrowed the angle and did well to block the effort after some early pressure from Rangers.

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Ronny Deila’s side retaliated almost instantly with shots from Scott Brown and Leigh Griffiths as the game spilled from end to end inside a fraught opening 10 minutes but the Bhoys soon found themselves 1-0 down, as Miller capitalised on a deflected pass into the Celtic box from a free-kick.Brown had done well to get a foot on the low delivery into the area but his efforts only directed the ball in the direction of Miller who shot from right to left past Gordon to put his side in front.

A rasping shot from Kieran Tierney from distance marked Celtic’s reply but the full-back’s effort fizzed past Wes Foderingham’s post. The Hoops were then forced into an early change as Erik Sviatchenko replaced Dedryck Boyata on 25 minutes.Tierney then made an instrumental interception in the box to stop Miller pulling the trigger again before Sviatchenko was cautioned for his first challenge, catching Andy Halliday outside the box.

The momentum then suddenly shifted in Celtic’s favour when Griffiths cracked the post with a shot, which feel kindly to Patrick Roberts with the goal gaping but the teenager could only find the side netting with his shot.The Bhoys pressed on, however, with Bitton forcing another save out of Foderingham, which the keeper spilled but gathered in time to stop Griffiths poking the ball home.

As half-time approached the game settled down but the Hoops were still forced to do much of the defending as their deep defensive line invited the Ibrox side forward but the score remained 1-0 at the interval.After a lacklustre first-half Celtic emerged for the start of second period a changed team. The personnel were the same but the drive, intensity and most importantly accuracy with the ball was drastically improved, and it didn’t take long for the Bhoys draw themselves level through Sviatchenko.

A long range free-kick from Griffiths sparked a string of corners and the Celts finally made the pressure count at the fourth attempt when the Danish defender out-jumped his marker to head beyond Foderingham and tie the game five minutes after the restart.
Mark Warburton’s side responded with a prolonged period of possession but a blocked free-kick from James Tavernier was the best of their chances as the game passed the hour mark.

The Ibrox outfit remained largely on top in terms of possession, with Celtic playing on the break as their city rivals committed men forward. Callum McGregor then replaced Mackay-Steven with 20 minutes left as the Bhoys sought to get back on the ball but they remained pinned back as the game crept towards its conclusion.The Celts got a crucial sight of goal in the closing stages when Griffiths burst forward and cut-back for McGregor but the midfielder’s effort was blocked and Charlie Mulgrew headed over from the resultant corner. Stefan Johansen’s match then came to an end as he was replaced by Rogic with extra time looming.

Celtic had a late chance to grab the winner when Tavernier was booked for a foul on Roberts, allowing Bitton to get a head on goal from the following free-kick but his effort arched agonisingly over the bar and out of play before the full-time whistle heralded extra time.
The Hoops started the first-half of the extra 30 minutes well but couldn’t force Foderingham into a save and they soon found themselves 2-1 down when McKay found the net from distance with a stunning strike that Gordon could do little to stop.

Griffiths responded with a curling free-kick that went past the post before Sviatchenko forced another fine save out of Foderingham but the Celts finished the half behind.
It took only seconds of the restart, however, for the champions to draw level again, this time through Rogic, who supplied a sublime finish to Kieran Tierney’s cut-back to make it 2-2. The Australian then almost put the Hoops in front when he was picked out in the box but Foderingham did well to block his clipped shot at goal.With one minute left on the clock Griffiths then curled a brilliant free-kick off the cross bar, which hit off Foderingham’s back before rolling out of play just past the post before the final whistle blew signalling a penalty shoot out to decide the game.

After both teams missed kicks in the opening five, the shoot-out went to sudden death and Rogic’s wayward shot from the spot spelt the end of a disappointing afternoon for the Scottish champions.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Boyata (Sviatchenko 26), Mulgrew, Tierney; Brown, Bitton; Roberts, Johansen (Rogic 88), Mackay-Steven (McGregor 71); Griffiths. Not used: Bailly, Kazim-Richards, Armstrong, Commons,

RANGERS (4-3-3) Foderingham; Tavernier, Kiernan (Zelalem 88), Wilson, Wallace; Halliday, Ball Holt; Shiels (Law 66), Miller (Clark 91), McKay.
Not used: Bell, Burt

Sevco5088 will play Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-finals while Hibernian or Inverness Caledonian Thistle will play Dundee United.

The ties will be played on the weekend of 16 and 17 April.

Championship leaders Sevco5088 beat Dundee 4-0 before United claimed adramatic 3-2 win over Ross County.

Premiership leaders Celtic won the first of Sunday’s quarter-finals, overcoming Greenock Morton 3-0. Hibs and Inverness later drew 1-1.

Holders Inverness will host Hibs in their replay on 16 March.

Rangers and Celtic fans


Scottish Cup Quarter-Final

Celtic Park, Glasgow
Sunday, March 6, 2016
(Griffiths 14, Mackay-Steven 25, McGregor 35)

A DOMINANT first-half display saw Celtic brush aside Greenock Morton 3-0 in Paradise and book their spot in the Scottish Cup semi-finals.Leigh Griffiths opened the scoring with his 34th goal of the season, before the lively Gary-Mackay-Steven doubled the advantage from Kieran Tierney’s cross.And ten minutes later, Callum McGregor sealed the champions’ passage to the last four of the competition with an exquisite finish from the edge of the box.Celtic struck the woodwork twice in the second period, with Patrick Roberts impressing again after coming off the bench.

But, despite not finding further reward, Ronny Deila would be satisfied at progressing in the competition and returning to winning ways after successive draws with Hamilton and Dundee.The manager had made four changes to his team following Wednesday’s goal-less draw with Dundee. Opting for a 4-3-3 formation, the manager moved birthday Bhoy Charlie Mulgrew into central defence at the expense of Dedryck Boyata, while Stefan Johansen and McGregor also returned to partner Scott Brown in midfield.

Kris Commons, who came on as a late substitute in the mid-week stalemate, started on the right of the front three, with Griffiths deployed in his usual central role and Mackay-Steven completing the changes for the Celts on the left. Roberts, Tom Rogic and Stuart Armstrong were the other players to drop out but were named on the bench.After a scrappy start to proceedings, the Hoops fashioned the first opportunity in the sixth minute. Mackay-Steven robbed Lee Kilday off possession and drove into the box but he elected to try and pick out Griffiths in the middle instead of pulling the trigger and Kilday managed to get back and avert the danger.

The winger looked the most likely outlet for the Hoops in the opening exchanges and after he had evaded the clutches of Kilday again his low cutback was just behind the onrushing Griffiths.After Morton had enjoyed a short spell of pressure, with Craig Gordon saving comfortably from an angled effort from Ross Forbes, Celtic resumed the offensive and made the breakthrough.Mackay-Steven was the provider. His delivery from the left was missed by defender Thomas O’Ware and Griffiths buried a right-footed shot under Derek Gaston at the back post.

That sparked further waves of attacks from the home side, with McGregor, Scott Brown and Griffiths having shots blocked by an increasingly stretched away defence.Spiritedly, Morton responded with a powerful long-range drive from Joe McKee which Gordon saved comfortably and it wasn’t long before the champions threatened again as O’Ware made a last-ditch block to thwart Commons in the box. From McGregor’s resultant corner, Mikael Lustig glanced over.Gaston then had to make an excellent save from Griffiths after the striker had fastened onto Johansen’s precise pass but the goalkeeper could do nothing moments later as Mackay-Steven doubled the advantage.

Tierney hit the byline and hit low cross picked out the former Dundee United man, who had the simple task of firing home from close range.At the other end, Gordon had to react sharply to save from Stefan McCluskey’s shot that came through a ruck of bodies.
However, with Celtic’s confidence growing, Jim Duffy’s side were struggling to stem the tide as Ronny Deila’s side zipped the ball around with pace and purpose.Tierney had a shot saved, Mulgrew struck the wall with a free-kick and Commons headed wide from Tierney’s cross as the chances continued to mount.

In the 35th minute, Morton’s resistance was broken again. McGregor was afforded space to burst towards the box and he finished with aplomb from 20 yards, curing a sumptuous shot beyond Gaston.The one-way traffic continued as half-time approached – Griffiths had a shot blocked by O’Hare and Mackay-Steven shot wide after being found by Tierney.Former Celt Michael Miller saw yellow for pulling back McGregor on the edge of the box as Morton became more desperate in their attempts to halt the onslaught.Johansen found the wall from the free-kick, and Miller was extremely fortunate not to receive further punishment 60 seconds from referee Willie Collum, having caught Johansen with a straight leg which left the Norwegian prone on the ground and in need of treatment after the half-time whistle.

Worryingly, the Celtic midfielder was unable to reappear for the restart, with Colin Kazim-Richards taking his place.Despite the change, the Hoops remained in control though their tempo had dipped somewhat from the first period, and aside from a header from Lustig that was saved by Gaston there was a dearth of meaningful opportunities.The introduction of Patrick Roberts on the hour mark injected fresh impetus into the Celtic attack. A wonderful solo run from the 19-year-old saw him leave several opponents for dead before striking the post.

And Roberts was also involved in the move that saw Commons find Kazim-Richards with a defence-splitting pass, the striker firing into the side-netting.Morton had carried more threat in the second half and Gordon had to make a tremendous point-blank save from Denny Johnstone following a corner, Celtic eventually clearing the ball from the ensuing melee.Mackay-Steven thundered a shot off the underside of the bar, after more good work from Roberts, and Kazim-Richards came close on two occasions as the Bhoys comfortably saw out the closing stages to seal their spot in the semi-finals.

CELTIC (4-3-3) Gordon; Lustig, Sviatchenko, Mulgrew, Tierney; McGregor, Brown, Johansen (Kazim-Richards 46); Commons (Armstrong 73), Griffiths (Roberts 60), Mackay-Steven
Not Used: Bailly, Rogic, Ambrose, Forrest, Armstrong

GREENOCK MORTON (3-5-2) Gaston; Kilday, O’Ware, Lamie; McCluskey (Gasparatto 76) McKee, Miller (Barr 51) Forbes, Russell; Johnstone (Quitongo 90),McManus
Not Used: McGowan, MacDonald, Scullion, Tennan

Scottish Cup quarter-final draw (matches to take place on the weekend of 5/6 March):

Hearts/Hibernian v Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Celtic v Greenock Morton

Ross County v Dundee United

Sevco5088/Kilmarnock v Dundee/Dumbarton

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Scottish Cup Fifth Round

Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
Sunday, February 7, 2016

(Griffiths 20, Kazim-Richards 50)

CELTIC cruised into the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup with a 2-0 victory over Lowland League side East Kilbride at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie.The Bhoys dominated proceedings in the one-sided game between the Scottish champions and the Lowland League outfit, but could only find the net once in either half, despite creating a plethora of chances.Leigh Griffiths broke the deadlock on 20 minutes when he squeezed a close-range shot over the line after Gary Mackay-Steven’s corner before Colin Kazim Richards sealed the Celts’ progression to Monday’s quarter-final draw in similar circumstances five minutes into the second-half.The Bhoys hit the post in the second-half and reached double figures in corners but Matt McGinley’s saves in the East Kilbride goal combined with some resolute defending saw Billy Ogilvie’s side keep the score respectable.

Celtic will now find out their opponents in the next round following the draw on Monday.Ronny Deila made five changes for the game following the 2-1 defeat to Aberdeen on Wednesday evening and the reshuffled line-up saw a return to action for Hoops midfielder Charlie Mulgrew.The 29-year-old last featured for the champions in the UEFA Europa League clash with Ajax at Celtic Park last November, where he aggravated an injury and was subsequently side-lined for over two months, but he won his place in the starting XI following a strong 45 minutes for the Development Squad in their recent 3-0 victory over Rangers.Colin Kazim-Richards also made his first start for the Celts, partnering Leigh Griffiths up front as Ronny Deila switched to a 4-4-2 formation. Craig Gordon, Mikael Lustig, Stuart Armstrong and Callum McGregor were the others to drop out and they were replaced by Logan Bailly, Efe Ambrose, James Forrest and Mulgrew.

The Celts started the game briskly and won a series of early corners. Mulgrew’s glancing header from the first went just over the bar before East Kilbride’s defence had to act quickly to thwart a low shot from Griffiths in the six-yard box moments later.Erik Sviatchenko had a volley parried by Matt McGinley in the Kilby goal before Griffiths also went close again with a direct free-kick in the first 15 minutes as the Hoops dominated proceedings.The Lowland League side had ridden the early storm but their resistance was eventually broken on the 20 minute mark when Griffiths put the Celts in front from another corner from the right.Dedryck Boyata initially won the header from Mackay-Steven’s set-piece but the ball was blocked on the line and fell to the feet of the Hoops striker, who bundled it home to put the Bhoys into the lead.

However, the anticipated deluge of chances and goals never came as the Lowland League side held firm in the wake of Griffiths’ strike.The Celts pinned Kilby back with corners but a pair of curling efforts from distance from Forrest marked the Hoops best chances in the aftermath of the goal as half-time approached.A stinging volley from the lively Mackay-Steven was well saved by McGinley but there were no more goals in the first-half.East Kilbride opened the second-half with much more intent and won an early free-kick on the left but the Hoops defended well and broke up the pitch.
Another wave of corners from the Bhoys kept Billy Ogilvie’s side pinned in and eventually brought the second goal, which was poked over the line after another Mackay-Steven corner by Kazim Richards in almost identical fashion to Griffiths’ opener.In a difference from the first goal, however, Celtic stepped up the pressure immediately after finding the net and could have added to their lead almost instantly through Griffiths’ acrobatic shot and a careless clearance from Craig Howie, which skimmed off the right-hand post Kilby goal.

Wave after wave of Celtic attacks kept East Kilbride camped in their own 18-yard box but a combination of brave defending and excellent saves from McGinley kept the Hoops out.Ronny Deila then swapped the industrious Mackay-Steven with Scott Allan with just over 20 minutes remaining as the champions sought to add to their advantage. The returning Charlie Mulgrew was also withdrawn shortly after and replaced by Nir Bitton following a solid contribution from the Scotland internationalist.As the match drew to a close the Celts continued to pepper the Kilby goal with crosses and only the post denied Scott Brown from finding the net as he struck a sweet, curling effort from distance.Ogilvie’s side defended well until the end, however, and kept the score respectable, despite Celtic’s best efforts.

CELTIC (4-4-2) Bailly; Ambrose, Boyata, Sviatchenko, Tierney; Mackay-Steven (Allan 68), Brown, Mulgrew (Bitton 72), Forrest; Kazim-Richards, Griffiths (Christie 80)
Not used: Fasan, Izaguirre, Lustig, Armstrong

EAST KILBRIDE (4-5-1) McGinley; Stevenson, Howie, Russell, Coll; Lachlan, Brady (Millar 89), Johnstone (Templeton85), McBride, Hastings (Gormley 62); Smith
Not used: Kean, Morris, MacDonald, Craig,

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Scottish League Cup semi-final
Hampden Park
Sunday, January 31, 2016

(Woods 15, Quinn 48, Shalk 63)
(Mackay-Steven 1)

CELTIC’S treble hopes were extinguished in heart-breaking fashion at Hampden after they lost 3-1 to Ross County in the semi-final of the League Cup.The Hoops took a stunning lead through Gary Mackay-Steven inside 30 seconds but they were soon pegged back by Martin Woods from the penalty spot after Efe Ambrose saw red for a challenge on Alex Shalk in the Celtic box.The Celts held strong until the interval but an early second-half header from Paul Quinn put the Highlanders in the lead before Shalk’s close-range finish settled the game after the hour mark.Leigh Griffiths had a chance to pull his side back into the match when substitute Brian Graham handled in the box but the striker’s penalty was saved by Scott Fox, and the result saw County proceed to the final where they will take on Hibernian.It was a dramatic and controversial match that ultimately ended in disappointment for the Bhoys but they will now look to bounce back against Aberdeen in the league on Wednesday evening, where they could stretch their lead at the top of the SPFL Premiership to nine points.

Ronny Deila made just one change to his team for his 100th match in charge following the 3-1 win over St Johnstone as the returning Dedryck Boyata replaced Jozo Simunovic in the centre of defence to pair up with Ambrose.Scott Brown won a place on the bench as he continues his return to fitness and he was joined by recent signing Erik Sviatchenko and young Celt, Aidan Nesbitt.Ross County kicked off but they were quickly dispossessed by the Celts which allowed the Hoops to spring the first attack of the match and take the lead inside 30 seconds.A clever through pass from Callum McGregor eliminated the County midfield and allowed Griffiths to race through on goal. The striker opted to slide the ball into the path of Mackay-Steven rather than shoot, and the winger fired past Scott Fox with his right foot to give the Celts a dream start.The Hoops kept up the pressure and they almost went two up when Ambrose had a header cleared off the line from a corner. The Nigerian had another header go wide before Ross County got their first shot of the game in, with Shalk testing Craig Gordon from distance.

The Bhoys were dominant but the Highlanders were then handed a lifeline when the referee blew for a penalty after Shalk went down in the Celtic box under a challenge from Ambrose. Contact looked minimal but the decision was given and Martin Woods scored from the spot on 14 minutes to level the match.The Hoops were down to 10 men and were forced to take off McGregor, who had been influential early on, for Erik Sviatchenko to slot into the centre of defence.Celtic remained well in contention despite their numerical disadvantage and signalled their intent to get back in front with a curling shot from Stuart Armstrong that swerved just over the crossbar.County were dangerous on the break, however, and Kieran Tierney was forced into a string of runs up and down the left touchline to cover the space.Gordon had to save again from Woods, this time punching the midfielder’s squiggling shot to safety, but the Bhoys also had a chance to get back in front through a dangerous corner from Stefan Johansen which bobbled about in the County box but brave goalkeeping from Fox at the feet of Sviatchenko kept matters level at the interval after a pulsating first-half.

Celtic emerged for the second-half before Ross County but their enthusiasm to get the game back underway was cut short just minutes after the restart when the Staggies took the lead in the game for the first time.The Highlanders won an early corner and Woods’ whipped cross found Davies free at the back post. The defender headed the ball back into the six yard box and it was nodded home by Paul Quinn.It was a nightmare start to the half for the champions, who could feel aggrieved at the goal standing as Gordon looked like he was being held back from attacking the ball. The Celtic keeper was booked for his protests.Mikael Lustig then followed him into the referee’s note book as the Bhoys continued to express their frustrations at a string of contentious decisions which went against them.Matters then went from bad to worse for the Celts when a quick breakaway from County saw the Highlanders go 3-1 up. Jackson Irvine’s quick pass found Woods in midfield. He then threaded a pass in to Shalk who controlled with his left and rifled a high shot past Gordon at the near post.

Celtic replaced Nir Bitton with skipper Brown as they sought a way back into the game and and they got a golden chance to get back into the game when Graham was penalised for a handball in the County box 10 minutes from time. Leigh Griffiths, stepped up to take the kick but his low shot was saved by the knees of Fox. Late drama engulfed the game with Gordon pulling out a great stop to deny Jackson Irvine and Fox also saving on the line from Griffiths, but Celtic’s late rally was in vain and the Hoops will now look to bounce back on Wednesday in their league clash with Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Ambrose, Boyata, Tierney; Bitton (Brown 67), Johansen; Mackay-Steven, McGregor (Sviatchenko 14), Armstrong (Forrest 79); Griffiths.
Not used: Bailly, Izaguirre, Ciftci, Nesbitt

ROSS COUNTY (4-4-2) Fox; Fraser, Quinn, Davies, Foster; Murdoch (Franks 28), McShane, Woods, Gardyne (Boyce 83); Shalk (Graham 71), Irvine.
Not used: Woods, Reckord, Boyd, De Vita


Scottish Cup fifth-round draw – ties to be played on February 7 and 8:

Motherwell v Inverness CT

East Kilbride v Celtic

Dundee Utd v Partick

Ross County v Linlithgow Rose or Forfar

Rangers v Kilmarnock

Annan v Morton

Dumbarton v Dundee or Falkirk

Hearts v Hibernian

BBC Sport – Football – Scottish Cup Hamilton was chosen for East Kilbride’s Scottish Cup tie with Celtic as it was the … Forfar Athletic v Linlithgow Rose … Highlights – Inverness CT 2-0 Stirling …

BBC to show Celtic Scottish Cup tie against EK or Lothian BBC Scotland will broadcast live television coverage of East Kilbride or Lothian Thistle HV v Celtic in the Scottish Cup. … Celtic beat Stranraer 3-0 to reach the fifth round of the Scottish Cup. 14 January 2016 Last updated at 16:41 … Motherwell v StirlingAlbion/Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Ross County v Linlithgow …

BBC Sport – Football – Scottish Cup Fixtures Find out the upcoming fixtures in the Scottish Cup on BBC Sport. … Saturday 6th February 2016East Kilbride V Celtic. 15:00 … Inverness CT 2 – 0 Stirling FT.

The ties will be played on the weekend of 6-7 February.

Scottish Cup fifth-round draw

Motherwell v Stirling Albion/Inverness Caley Thistle
East Kilbride/Lothian Thistle v Celtic
Dundee United v Partick Thistle
Dunfermline/Ross County v Linlithgow Rose/Forfar Athletic
Rangers v Kilmarnock
Annan Athletic v Greenock Morton
Dumbarton v Dundee/Falkirk
Hearts v Hibernian

Scottish Cup fourth round
Stair Park, Stranraer
Sunday, January 10, 2016

(Griffiths 18, 84 Cole 42,)

LEIGH Griffiths bagged a brace and Carlton Cole scored on his first Celtic start of the season as the Hoops marched into the Scottish Cup fifth round with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Stranraer.Griffiths found the net from McGregor’s pass in the 18th minute to put the Bhoys ahead at a packed out Stair Park.As Ronny Deila’s side dominated, Cole headed in number two from Nir Bitton’s cross before the interval.Only the heroics of home goalkeeper Max Currie denied the Scottish champions further reward in the second half, before Griffiths plundered his 22nd goal of the season with six minutes left on the clock.

Celtic will now take their place in Monday’s draw for the next round, with their treble dreams still intact. Cole’s inclusion one of three changes made to the team that defeated Partick Thistle last week 1-0 in the Scottish Premiership.Logan Bailly replaced the suspended Craig Gordon between the sticks, while Griffiths, who came off the bench to score a last-gasp winner against the Jags, was restored to the starting XI after fully recovering from his calf injury. Tom Rogic and Nadir Ciftci were the players to drop out.It took the Scottish champions several minutes to adjust to the muddy pitch and blustery conditions at Stair Park, with Mark McGuigan firing over for the host after a cutback from the left.


But the Hoops gradually started to impose themselves on proceedings, and Cole looked to have been denied a decent penalty shout in the 10th minute when he went down in the box under McGuigan’s challenge after a corner had only been partially cleared.Cole threatened again moments later after he had been picked out by Stefan Johansen in the box, a last-gasp challenge from Scott Rumsby preventing the striker from pulling the trigger.Johansen, finding space breaking forward from midfield, teamed up again with Cole down the inside right channel, but Currie was out quickly to avert the danger. Celtic’s pressure paid off in the 18th minute, however, as Griffiths fired them into the lead. McGregor was the architect, darting in off the left flank and finding the in-form hit-man in the box and he made no mistake, burying a shot in the far corner.

Stranraer, while showing plenty of endeavour, weren’t managing to threaten Bailly, with the visitors dealing ably with any crosses into the box. At the other end, Ronny Deila’s men looked dangerous when they attacked, and Griffiths sent a rasping drive narrowly over from 18 yards after being supplied by McGregor.Cole then fastened onto Commons’ long ball over the top but Currie was to the rescue again for the League One outfit, racing from his line to make a timely tackle. It was increasingly one-way traffic as the half progressed and Celtic increased their dominance of possession. Commons saw a lofted shot tipped over the bar by Currie and Kieran Tierney looked to be felled in the box as he attempted to reach Bitton’s cross, with McGuigan again the offender. As the pressure continued, Currie made a superb double save from Griffiths to leave the Scotland internationalist holding his head in frustration.

Following a lightning counter attack, Commons fed Griffiths, whose right-footed drive was palmed away by Currie and, when Cole knocked the ball back across goal for his strike partner, the Stranraer shot-stopper reacted brilliantly to get his hands to the shot.There was nothing he could, though, to prevent the Hoops doubling their advantage before the break. Bitton made a penetrative burst into the box and clipped the ball back from the byline and Cole rose highest at the far post to meet the cross and score his first goal for the club. The Bhoys were in complete control of the tie but nevertheless they went in search of further reward swiftly after the restart, with McGregor and Commons having shots blocked in quick succession.

Johansen was next to come close. Weaving his way through the middle and leaving several players in his wake, he stabbed the ball under Currie but a goal-line clearance from Scott Robertson denied him a brilliant solo goal.When the ball was chipped back into the mix, Cole’s acrobatic effort was snatched out the air by Currie. Griffiths then let rip from distance, but Currie was well positioned to make the save. Currie was the hero again for the hosts in the 67th minute, pushing over Griffiths’ acrobatic attempt from Bailly’s long clearance. When the resultant corner was only partially cleared, Commons blasted wide.
As Ronny Deila rang the changes in the closing stages, Stranraer got their first glimpse of goal. Steven Bell headed a corner back into the mix and Craig Malcolm was unable to capitalise from close-range, with Bailly gathering the ball on the line.Stung back into action, Celtic spurned further chances to add to their tally as Currie saved from Griffiths and Scott Allan, before Griffiths finally made it 3-0. Sent clear by Allan’s precise pass, he drilled beyond Currie as the away side finished on top

CELTIC (4-4-2) Bailly; Lustig, Ambrose, Simunovic, Tierney (Blackett 76); Commons (Rogic 74), Bitton, Johansen, McGregor, Cole (Allan 69) Griffiths
Not Used: Fasan, Mackay-Steven, O’Connell, Forrest

STRANRAER (4-4-1-1) Currie; Pettigrew, Rumsby, Bell, Dick; McGuigan (Stirling 61), Robertson, Cairney, McCloskey (Gibson 61); Longworth (Thomson 80); Malcolm
Not Used: Brown, Barron, Turner, Nequecaur

Ross County v Celtic – Sunday January 31, 2016
Hampden Park – kick-off 3.00pm (Live on BBC Scotland)

Ross County Support
South Stand Lower Section O – All tickets £25.00
South Stand Lower Section P – Adults £20.00, Under-16s £5.00

South Stand Wheelchair Users – Adults £12.00, Under-16s £3.00

Celtic Support
South Stand Lower Section J – All tickets £25.00
South Stand Lower Section I – Adults £20.00, Under-16s £5.00
North Stand Section D – Adults £20.00, Under-16s £5.00
North Stand Section C – Adults £20.00, Under-16s £5.00
East Stand Sections F1 to G3 – Adults £20.00, Under-16s £5.00
West Stand Sections B4 to B8 – Adults £20.00, Under-16s £5.00

North Stand Wheelchair Users – Adults £15.00, Under-16s £3.00
South Stand Wheelchair Users – Adults £12.00, Under-16s £3.00
East Stand Wheelchair Users – Adults £10.00, Under-16s £3.00

The competing clubs will announce ticket sale information via their own channels in due course.

The date for the 70th Scottish League Cup Final is Sunday March 13, 2016.



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Hearts 1 – 2 Celtic: Holders through to semi-final

Scotsman9 hours ago
Sow’s attempt at goal had sparked a better spell for Hearts, but it was Celtic who came closest to making the breakthrough before the interval.
Live Text Commentary
Live UpdatingBBC Sport7 hours ago


Scottish League Cup quarter-final
Tynecastle, Edinburgh
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

(Djoum 90+2)
(Griffiths 70, Rogic 80)

LATE strikes from Leigh Griffiths and Tom Rogic sent Celtic into the semi-finals of the Scottish League Cup after they overcame Hearts 2-1 at Tynecastle.The Bhoys had been frustrated for much of the game with the home side soaking up waves of pressure and playing on the counter-attack, but Edinburgh-born hit-man Griffiths finally broke the deadlock with 20 minutes left with a wonderful solo run and finish in the box.Robbie Neilson’s side came forward as they desperately tried to claw their way back into the game, but that opened up more space for the Celts and they doubled their advantage 10 minutes later when Griffiths squeezed the ball under Neil Alexander from a tight angle, allowing Rogic to deftly flick it over the line and seal the victory.

A late header from Arnaud Djoum gave Hearts hope at the death but it was too little too late for the home side, and the Celts will now go into Monday’s draw where they will discover their opponents in the final four.Celtic made three changes to the starting XI for the trip to the capital, with Mikael Lustig, Emilio Izaguirre and Nir Bitton all returning to the team in place of Efe Ambrose, Kieran Tierney and Gary Mackay-Steven.However, captain Scott Brown pulled up during the warm-up and was replaced in the starting XI before kick-off by James Forrest. Gary Mackay-Steven also pulled out of the squad following the warm-up and was replaced on the bench by Callum McGregor, with Tyler Blackett stepping in to fill the spot left by Forrest.

The match was preceded by heavy rainstorms but the weather improved before kick-off, making the surface perfectly zippy for Celtic’s quick passing style.Both teams started brightly, with Juanma Delgado and Osman Sow testing the Celtic backline early on with some good combination play but the Hoops soon began to settle and take control.
Forrest’s inclusion gave the Bhoys an injection of pace down the right and he went close with a shot from distance from Celtic’s first corner but the referee blew for an infringement on the line.Stuart Armstrong was lively on the other wing, harrying Blazej Augustyn and winning a spate of early corners but the Hoops couldn’t carve out a goal-scoring chance from the attacker’s good play.

The match settled into a steady rhythm midway through the first-half with the Celts largely in control of the ball but resilient defending from the home side limited them chances going forward.Robbie Neilson’s side were solid at the back, soaking up the Celtic pressure before springing their own attacks on the counter.The more bodies the Hoops threw forward to support their attacks the more space was left at the back for Hearts forwards to exploit on the counter attack, with Billy King and Sam Nicholson the main architects for the home team on the break.

The best chance of the half for the Bhoys came just before half-time when a flash of quick passing allowed Forrest to fire in a low cross from the right but neither Armstrong or Kris Commons could get on the end of the delivery and the teams went in at the break level.
Play retained the look of the first-half after the interval with Celtic controlling possession and Hearts looking dangerous on the break.The Bhoys switched their approach by mixing their short passing build-up play with long balls up to Griffiths but the close marking of the towering Hearts defence made it difficult for the striker to win the aerial battles.


Ronny Deila then replaced Forrest with Tom Rogic and the Australian got straight into the action, weaving his way through the Hearts defence but his shot screwed wide of the goal.
Hearts then thought they had taken the lead when the ball was poked over the line by Sow from Nicholson’s deep free-kick but the offside flag was rightly raised and the Celts breathed a sigh of relief.That scare sparked the Hoops back into life and they came forward in waves, with Griffiths and Commons both having shots at goal before McGhee did well to clear Armstrong’s low cross off the line after Alexander failed to gather it.

The pressure finally paid off for the Bhoys moments later, however, when a brilliant solo run and finish from Griffiths broke the deadlock.The striker picked up the ball 30 yards out and drove at goal, jinking in and out of two challenges before opening his body up inside the area and curling a composed shot beyond Alexander.The striker then helped the Bhoys double their lead 10 minutes later when he gathered the ball in the right of the box and squeezed it under Alexander, allowing Rogic to flick it over the line unmarked and seal the victory.Lustig could have added further to the lead when he did well to meet a free-kick from the left but sent his header wide of goal.Substitute Djoum found the back of the net for the home side in added time with a powerful header in the box but it was not enough to get the Jambos back into the game and Celtic headed back to Glasgow as victors and into Monday’s draw for the last four.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Boyata, Simunovic, Izaguirre; Bitton, Johansen; Forrest (Rogic 59), Commons, Armstrong; Griffiths (Ciftci 80)
Not used: Bailly, Ambrose, Tierney, Blackett, McGregor

HEARTS (4-4-2) Alexander; Paterson, Augustyn, Rossi, McGhee; Nicholson, Buaben (Djoum 79), Gomis, King (Walker 52); Sow, Juanma (Reilly 87)
Not used: Hamilton, Swanson, Smith, Zanatta

The draw for the quarter-finals of the Scottish League Cup was made at Hampden Park this afternoon and resulted as follows:

Hibernian v Dundee United
Morton v St Johnstone
Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Ross County
Heart of Midlothian v Celtic

Ties to be played October 27/28

Celtic vs Hearts
Scottish League Cup Quarter-final
Wednesday, 28 October, 19:45
Tynecastle Stadium


The draw for the quarter-finals of the Scottish League Cup will be made in the Media Centre East at Hampden Park on Monday September 28 at 2.30pm.

The eight third-round ties go ahead on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, with the quarter-finals scheduled for the midweek of October 27/28.

The semi-finals are set for the weekend of January 30/31 and the final is on Sunday March 13.

Scottish League Cup
Third Round
Celtic Park, Glasgow
Wednesday, September 23, 2015

(Commons 32, Johansen 87)

GOALS in either half from Kris Commons and Stefan Johansen gave Celtic a hard-earned but deserved victory over Raith Rovers in the third round of the Scottish League Cup.The champions were forced to be patient from the first whistle as Ray McKinnon’s side sat deep, looking to hit on the break, but a flash of brilliance from Commons just after 30 minutes finally broke the deadlock and put the Hoops in front.The anticipated deluge of goals failed to follow, however, and it took until the final minutes of the game before Johansen’s calm finish on the counter-attack sealed the victory and gave the Bhoys safe passage to the quarter-final.Ronny Deila made six changes for the match following the weekend thrashing of Dundee, and the reshuffled line-up struggled to find their rhythm early on. Raith’s 4-1-4-1 formation gave the Bhoys plenty of time on the ball in their own half but chances were difficult to create.

The first real effort didn’t come until 13 minutes when some decisive play from Commons picked out Gary Mackay-Steven on the left flank, but his cross-come-shot went past the far post.The visitors then had their own first sight of goal when a flick-on from Kevin Cuthbert’s searching goal-kick allowed James Wighton to shoot but Craig Gordon got down well to save.The Hoops’ early play was focused down the wings, with Saidy Janko and Kieran Tierney both heavily involved but the visitors’ well-protected backline was difficult for the Celts to break through.The Championship side were happy to sit deep, play on the break and look to win free-kicks, which the League Cup holders afforded them on a couple of occasions, but there was no real threat from the Kirkcaldy team.That was the same for Celtic for the first 30 minutes until Commons grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and put the Bhoys in front just after the half-hour mark by proving once again that he can create a goal out of nothing.

The attacker received a pass 25 yards out and turned his man before firing a low, swerving effort into the back of the net beyond Cuthbert.It was the goal the game needed but it unfortunately wasn’t the catalyst for more as the visitors stuck to their game-plan and continued to soak up pressure on their 18-yard line until half-time.Celtic tried to pick up the pace after the restart and went on the attack straight from the kick-off but Raith’s superior numbers in defence continued to limit the Hoops’ creativity.The visitors maintained their game-plan from the first-half, relying on pace on the break to cause threats to the champions but they got a clear chance to draw level from a long throw-in just before the hour mark.The Celtic defence failed to clear Jason Thomson’s long throw-in and it sat up kindly for Ross Matthews but he blazed his shot over the bar.It was a warning to the Celts, who took heed and made a double switch shortly after with James Forrest and Tom Rogic replacing Commons and Callum McGregor.

The game opened up slightly as it approached the last 15 minutes after Raith brought on Jon Daly as they made their play to get back into the match.Their more ambitious formation created space for Celtic but the visitors were committed to their new approach and threw men forward to support it.The Hoops had to weather a rare spell of pressure from Ray McKinnon’s side as they strove to get back into the game and they could have snatched an equaliser with 10 minutes left but Daly hooked his shot over Gordon’s crossbar.Celtic then secured the tie with three minutes remaining as Stefan Johansen raced clear of the Raith defence. The midfielder had Ciftci for support but he took the shot on himself and curled a well-placed effort past Cuthbert.Ronny Deila then gave youngster Aidan Nesbitt his competitive debut as the clock ticked down but there was little time for the playmaker to have an impact before the final whistle, which blew shortly after, giving Celtic safe passage to the next round of the League Cup.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Janko, Ambrose, Blackett, Tierney; Brown, Johansen; McGregor (Forrest 66), Commons (Rogic 66), Mackay-Steven; Ciftci (Nesbitt 87).
Not used: Bailly, Lustig, Stokes, Izaguirre

RAITH ROVERS (4-1-4-1) Cuthbert; Thomson, Toshney, Benedictus, McKeown; Matthews (McCord 79); Anderson (Megginson 75), Davidson (Daly 70), Craigen, Stewart; Wighton.
Not used: Laidlaw, Petrie, Ellis, Mackie       kris commons goal.       johansen goal


The draw for the third round of the Scottish League Cup was made at Hampden Park this afternoon and resulted as follows:

Kilmarnock v Heart of Midlothian
Livingston v Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Ross County v Falkirk
Rangers v St Johnstone
Celtic v Raith Rovers
Morton v Motherwell
Dundee United v Dunfermline Athletic
Hibernian v Aberdeen

Ties to be played September 22/23

images (4)

William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Sunday, April 19, 2015

(Van Dijk 18, Guidetti 103)

(Tansey pen. 58, Ofore 96, Raven 116)

TEN-MAN Celtic were left frustrated at a controversial refereeing decision as their Scottish Cup dream was extinguished at Hampden after 3-2 extra-time defeat to Inverness Caley Thistle.Virgil van Dijk had put the Hoops in command when his fantastic free-kick found the net in the 18th minute.And they should have doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time when Leigh Griffiths’ goal-bound header was prevented from going in by Josh Meekings’ hand. Referee Steven McLean’s failure to award a penalty and dismiss the Inverness player left the Hoops players flabbergasted.

That decision took on huge significance as Craig Gordon was given his marching orders early in the second half for bringing down Marley Watkins, with Greg Tansey converting the penalty to equalise.As the game entered extra-time, Inverness struck first though Edward Ofere but substitute John Guidetti hauled Celtic level with a thunderous set-piece.
But as the clock ticked down, the Highlanders won it as David Raven swept home from Graeme Shinnie’s cutback.Griffiths was restored to the starting XI at the expense of Guidetti after the striker had bagged a treble to crush Kilmarnock on Wednesday night.

That was only the change to the team that lined up against the Rugby Park side as Ronny Deila’s men attempted to reach another showpiece and keep their treble dreams alive.
Prior to facing the Ayrshire outfit, the Hoops had been held by the Highlanders, a timely reminder that the champions would face a rigorous examination this afternoon.And it was John Hughes’ side who made the more positive start to proceedings, pressing high up the pitch and looking to take the initiative.

Adam Matthews was forced into an early foul on Graeme Shinnie, presenting Tansey with the first sight of goal from the resultant free-kick, the midfielder firing over from 30 yards.
But, after repelling that early assault, Celtic began to exert control and make inroads into the opposition defence.A purposeful burst from Forrest down the left created some space for Stefan Johansen to power towards the box and only a last-gasp challenge from Gary Warren blocked his final effort.

In the 13th minute, Nir Bitton almost opened the scoring in spectacular style as he smashed a first-time shot from 20 yards off the upright with Ryan Esson rooted to the spot.The Inverness shot- stopper was quickly called into action again, springing to his left to halt Griffiths’ pile-driver.Forrest had been prominent in the opening exchanges, the winger’s explosive pace and movement giving right-back Raven a torrid time.And another enterprising run from the Scotland internationalist was the precursor to the Hoops breaking the deadlock.

After Warren had sent Forrest tumbling to the ground on the edge of the box, referee Steven McLean booked the defender and awarded a free-kick, which van Dijk brilliantly dispatched via the post.Emboldened by the Dutchman’s moment of magic, the Bhoys set about their task with renewed enthusiasm. A burst of acceleration from Griffiths took him to the byline but his cutback has no takers and Brown had a stinging shot from distance saved by Esson.Still, they weren’t having it completely their own way, with the Caley Jags showing plenty of fighting spirit, and they could have levelled the match had Edward Ofere not missed from close range after a the ball had dropped invitingly for him following a corner.

The clearer opportunities were falling for Ronny Deila’s side, however, with Johansen forcing Esson into action after collecting Griffith’s lay-off in the box.A raking pass over the top from van Dijk nearly put Commons in, before the 31-year-old was denied by a fingertip save from Esson.Just before the break, the match burst into life again as controversy reared its head. Moments after Warren headed wide from a corner for Inverness, Johansen was played in following a rapid Celtic breakaway.Although the Norwegian’s lofted shot was pushed away by Esson, Griffiths was on hand to header the rebound on target. A goal would have been guaranteed until the intervention of Meekings’ outstretched hand. Inexplicably, the officials missed it and play raged on.

However, despite their frustrations, Celtic still had an iron-grip on the game as the second half restarted. A crisp, passing move culminated in Commons moving the ball wide to Forrest, who cut inside and saw his effort deflected wide. This all changed in the 55th minute as the Hoops were reduced to 10 men.A lightning counter-attack from Inverness left the Celtic defence exposed. Watkins beat Adam Matthews for speed and was brought down by Gordon. Referee Steven McLean pointed to the spot and produced the red card for the shot-stopper.Forrest was sacrificed to bring Lukasz Zaluska on but the Polish keeper unable to prevent Tansey levelling the match from the spot.

Roared on by the Hoops faithful, though, Celtic battled on. Griffiths headed an Izaguirre cross on target from an acute angle, before Johansen’s audacious attempt from 40 yards brought out a save from Esson.At the other end, Watkins fired narrowly wide and Zaluska made a comfortable stop from Tansey’s set-piece as the game became increasingly stretched and tension mounted.With neither side able to find a late winner, the match entered extra-time and it was Hoops, who fashioned the first chance as Johansen’s scooped pass was met by substitute Aleksandar Tonev, who volleyed wide.Zaluska then made a smart stop from Ryan Christie’s thumping drive but he was left helpless as Ofere handed the Highlanders the lead.

Tansey teed-up the forward following a hanging cross from the left and he made no mistake, rifling a shot into the corner.However, the ten men rallied in adversity and it only took them seven minutes to cancel that out. Brown was sent sprawling by a combination of Ross Draper and Nick Ross and substitute Guidetti, only on the field a matter of minutes, lashed in the resultant free-kick from 25 yards. Cue bedlam.

Ross spurned a golden chance for the Caley Jags, hooking a shot over after Zaluska was unable to claim a cross, while Tonev and Guidetti fired over for Celtic.But with only three minutes left on the clock, Inverness grabbed the winner as Raven found the net from Shinnie’s low centre. It was a cruel blow for the battling Bhoys, who will now turn their attentions to clinching the title and sealing a domestic double.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon (Zaluska 56); Matthews, Denayer, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Brown, Bitton; Commons (Tonev 90), Johansen, Forrest; Griffiths (Guidetti 98)
Not Used: Ambrose, Scepovic, McGregor, Tierney

INVERNESS CALEY THISTLE (4-4-2) Esson; Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie; Christie, Draper, Tansey, Williams (Ross 74); Ofere, Watkins
Not Used: Mackay, Vincent, Doran, Tremarco, Polworth, Kink

The dates of this year’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals have been confirmed, with Hibernian vs Falkirk on the 18th April and Inverness CT vs Celtic the following day.Both matches will be live on Sky, with the all-Championship clash also live on BBC Scotland.The live televised matches are as follows:

Hibernian v. Falkirk
Saturday 18 April 2015 (Kick-Off 12.15 pm) | Live on BBC Scotland and BSkyB
Hampden Park, Glasgow

Inverness Caledonian Thistle v. Celtic
Sunday 19 April 2015 (Kick-Off 12.15 pm) | Live on BSkyB
Hampden Park, Glasgow


Scottish Cup quarter-final
Celtic Park, Glasgow
Wednesday, March 18, 2015

(Denayer 17, Griffiths 57, Commons 79, van Dijk 90+1)


CELTIC cruised into the Scottish Cup last four and kept their treble dreams alive after a dominant 4-0 victory over Dundee United in Paradise.Jason Denayer deservedly headed the Hoops in front, before Leigh Griffiths doubled the advantage 12 minutes into the second half.The Scottish Cup quarter-final tie was effectively over once Kris Commons coolly added a third in the closing stages, but the competitive edge continued until the clock ticked down as first Anthony Stokes and then Ryan McGowan were dismissed.The champions finished with a flourish, though, as Virgil van Dijk rolled home from Denayer’s perfect pass at the death to set up a semi-final meeting with Inverness Caley Thistle.

Hampden hero James Forrest returned to the Celtic starting line-up in the sole change from the team that defeated the Terrors in Sunday’s League Cup final.The winger, who bagged the Hoops’ second goal in the 2-0 triumph, replaced the suspended Stefan Johansen in the side, with Commons moving inside to the fill the void left by the Norwegian.United had been reduced to 10 men at the National Stadium and they could have suffered the same fate within 60 seconds as goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak sent Griffiths sprawling outside the box after he had fastened onto a precise pass. The shot-stopper was shown a yellow card, with the resultant free-kick curled wide by Commons via the aid of a deflection.

It was a sign of things of things to come as the champions poured forward and pressed the visitors relentlessly, denying them any platform to build forward momentum.Celtic were finding plenty of joy down the flanks, earning a raft of corners, but it was from a slick move through the middle that Commons had the first effort on goal in the sixth minute, the attacker sending a shot over after a lovely first touch had allowed him to speed towards the box.Griffiths then brought out a comfortable save from Cierzniak after acrobatically connecting to Stokes’ cross as the pressure continued to mount.In the 17th minute, Celtic made the breakthrough. Butcher sent Commons tumbling as he broke forward and when Stokes sent the free-kick into the mix, Denayer rose highest to send a looping header into the net.

Forrest and Griffiths had attempts in quick succession as confident and purposeful Celtic looked to inflict further punishment.Griffiths lashed another shot over from 25 yards after linking up with Commons. And when the Tannadice side did venture forward, they were susceptible to the lightning counter-attacks, with one sweeping move culminating in Forrest’s drive being blocked by John Rankin.Van Dijk headed over from a corner and only a last-gasp challenge thwarted Griffiths from playing in Nir Bitton as Celtic dominance continued unabated.Forrest’s explosive speed was proving a particular problem for Rankin, deployed in a more unfamiliar left-back position.And after the winger had raced past the former Hibernian player, his cross forced a backpedalling Cierzniak to tip the ball on to the bar. Moments later, Griffiths had a header blocked by Jaroslaw Fojut.

Nadir Ciftci’s speculative effort from 25 yards, which had drawn a comfortable save from Craig Gordon, had been United’s only effort of note as half-time approached.Ryan McGowan’s cutback did cause some flutters in the 39th minute but Gordon managed to divert the danger clear, with Efe Ambrose completing the clearance.But it was the Bhoys who finished the half on top, with Bitton almost capitalising on Cierzniak’s slack clearance and Commons coming close with a couple of efforts.That pattern continued after the restart as Forrest reached the byline and found Commons, who was crowded out as he tried to pull the trigger.United then had their best spell of the match, throwing in a number of crosses into the mix, but Ronny Deila’s men held firm and then set about adding to their tally.

And shortly after Stokes has blasted wide from 30 yards, they broke United’s resistance again. Scott Brown’s wonderful pass was met first-time by Griffiths, whose controlled finish gave Cierzniak no chance.Van Dijk and Stokes threatened, while the impressive Forrest continued to torment the visitors with his pace and trickery.And it was no surprise when goal number three arrived as Commons collected a return pass from substitute John Guidetti and lofted the ball beyond Cierzniak.

Tempers frayed in the closing stages as Stokes saw red after an altercation with Paul Paton, before Ryan McGowan also received his marching orders for a reckless lunge on Liam Henderson.Still, it couldn’t put a dampener on a fantastic night for the Hoops, and there was still time for van Dijk to round off the scoring, applying the finish after being set-up by his defensive partner Denayer.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Ambrose (Fisher 72), Denayer, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Brown, Bitton; Forrest, Commons (Henderson 80) Stokes; Griffiths (Guidetti 58)
Not Used: Zaluska, Scepovic, Wakaso, McGrgeor

DUNDEE UNITED (4-4-2) Cierzniak; McGowan, Fojut, Morris, Rankin; Spittal (Connolly 74), Paton, Butcher, Erskine (Anier 70); Dow (Telfer 70) Ciftci
Not Used: Szromnik, Souttar, Smith, Spark

Celtic v Dundee United

Scottish Cup Replay

18th March 2015

Kick Off 19:45

Scottish League Cup
Hampden Park
Sunday, March 15, 2015

(Commons 27, Forrest 79)


RONNY DEILA captured his first trophy as Celtic manager after his side beat Dundee United 2-0 at Hampden today (Sunday) to lift the Scottish League Cup.An attacking attitude and disciplined performance from the Hoops was capped off by goals in either half from Kris Commons and James Forrest to give the team the first piece of silverware this season.Forrest had a chance to grab a double when he won a penalty late on but Radoslaw Cierzniak saved to deny the winger.The match was a much calmer affair than last weekend’s 1-1 draw in the Scottish Cup but Dundee United still saw a man sent off when Sean Dillon was dismissed for a high challenge on Emilio Izaguirre.

Celtic made just one change to the team following last weekend’s draw with United and reintroduced Kris Commons in place of James Forrest on the right wing.The Bhoys started the match the brighter of the two sides and looked comfortable in possession, stroking the ball about patiently in search of an early opening.Virgil van Dijk almost put the Bhoys in the lead inside the first two minutes when he rose well to meet a corner from Anthony Stokes from the left but the United defence cleared the ball on the line.Leigh Griffiths’ dogged determination then carved out another chance from seemingly nothing when he intercepted a slack back-pass from Callum Morris to Radoslaw Cierzniak in the United goal and rounded the keeper, but his shot hit the side netting from a tight angle.

Jackie McNamara’s side threatened at the other end early on too after they won a free-kick on the edge of the Celtic box but the Hoops dealt with the set-piece from Paul Dixon and cleared the danger.Commons seemed to be relishing his return to the side and as the match wore on he began to pop up in pockets of space around the United box. The attacker had couple of shots from distance which were off target but were an indication of his intent.The Celtic star then came good on those threats and put the Hoops into the lead in emphatic style just before the half hour mark.Stokes picked up the ball in space on the left and crossed into the box but the United defence played the ball straight back out to the Irishman.

The attacker readjusted his sights and played a lower cross into the middle to find Commons, who hit an effort at goal, which went through the legs of Jaroslaw Fojut only to be fantastically saved by Cierzniak in goal.The keeper’s efforts were in vain, however, as the ball landed back at the feet of Commons, who made no mistake at the second attempt and hammered the ball beyond the outstretched goalie.The Terrors were a man down at the time as their captain Sean Dillon received treatment off the park but he soon returned to the action.Celtic went on the hunt after the restart and had United on the ropes. Callum Morris had to think fast to thwart Griffiths in the box before he pulled the trigger, and then Ryan McGowan was booked for a late tackle from the side on Scott Brown.

Commons then forced another great fingertip save from Cierzniak with a shot from the right before Ryan Down threatened with a header on the end of a long throw from McGowan at the other end as the match sparked into life again.Cierzniak was called into action again by Commons just before half time when the attacker controlled a ball cleared from a Stokes’ corner but his shot on the half volley was straight at the keeper.The United players came out for the second half and drove forward from the restart. McNamara’s side won a corner straight away but Celtic cleared.Stokes then went close to setting up Griffiths at the other end but the winger’s cross was just inches ahead of the Celtic striker.

United then sat back in their own half to soak up the Hoops pressure but their game-plan took a blow on 55 minutes when their captain, Dillon, was shown a straight red card.The defender was caught out of position up the pitch and slid in late on Emilio Izaguirre in midfield in an attempt to get a foot on a loose ball. but his tackle was high and hard and caught the Honduran square on the ankle, leaving the left-back writhing in agony and the referee with no other option.Paul Paton then left Efe Ambrose on the deck as the nature of the game threatened to boil over but Celtic remained composed.With United a man down, Celtic began to turn the screw and focused much of their play down the left wing. Johansen almost got on the end of a trio of crosses from the left flank but Fojut did well to clear on each occasion in the absence of his captain.

United were on the rack, however, and it seemed like only a matter of time before Celtic would score again.Ronny Deila brought James Forrest and John Guidetti into the action in place of Commons and Griffiths as he sought the second goal to kill the game. That strike almost came from a Celtic corner when Jason Denayer rose to meet the ball in but his header went over Cierzniak’s bar.The deciding goal wasn’t far away, though, and it was substitute Forrest who grabbed it for the Bhoys.The Hoops drove forward down the right through the Scotland winger and he played a ball out to the left to find Johansen in the box. He was forced wide but managed to shift the ball back in to Guidetti who, with his back to goal, spotted Forrest in space 20 yards out.

The Swede laid the ball off for the attacker who showed no hesitation before curling a ball into the net beyond Cierzniak.The strike signalled the end of the brief United revival which had preceded it and the winger had a chance to get on the score-sheet again moments later when Celtic won a penalty after he was dragged down in the box by Paul Dixon.The playmaker stepped up to take the spot-kick but Cierzniak stuck out a leg to thwart the winger.The day truly belonged to Celtic, however, and their overall play, discipline and attitude got them the win they deserved and Ronny Deila’s first trophy as Hoops manager.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1): Gordon; Ambrose, Denayer, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Brown, Bitton (Henderson 83); Commons (Forrest 69), Johansen, Stokes; Griffiths (Guidetti 69).
Not used: Zaluska, Scepovic, Fisher, McGregor.

DUNDEE UNITED (4-3-3): Cierzniak, McGowan, Dillon, Fojut, Dixon; Paton (Erskine 70), Butcher, Rankin; Dow, Morris, Bilate (Anier 59).
Not used: Szromnik, Telfer, Connolly, Spittal.

Scottish Cup quarter-final
Tannadice, Dundee
Sunday, March 8, 2015

(Ciftci pen. 45)

(Griffiths 71)

LEIGH Griffiths’ second-half header sealed a draw for Celtic against Dundee United after a breathless and, at times, controversial Scottish Cup quarter-final clash at Tannadice, sending the match to a replay. Referee Craig Thomson dished out three red cards and awarded two penalties in a pulsating and fiery contest.Virgil van Dijk and Paul Paton were the first to receive their marching orders in the opening 10 minutes after a melee near the halfway line.United went ahead on the stroke of half-time as Nadir Ciftci scored from the spot after Aidan Connolly had went down easily in the box under Anthony Stokes’ challenge.The Hoops spurned the chance to level the match three minutes into the second half as Paul Dixon was sent off for blocking Griffith’s goalbound shot with his hand. However, the striker’s penalty was saved by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

But the Hoops hit-man achieved redemption with 19 minutes left on the clock, heading home Stefan Johansen’s cross.Despite a late assault on the United goal, a winner proved elusive for the Scottish champions, who will now have to tackle the Terrors in a replay at Paradise on March 18 for a semi-final spot againts either Inverness Caley Thistle or Raith Rovers.Emilio Izaguirre returned to the side as Ronny Deila made three changes to the team who were defeated by the Saints on Wednesday night.The Honduran internationalist replaced Adam Matthews in defence, the Welshman dropping out the matchday squad after picking up an injury against the Perth side.Cup-tied due Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong were unavailable to face their former employers, with Nir Bitton and James Forrest filling their positions.

Celtic made a bright start to the game, moving the ball around crisply and looking to utilise Griffiths’ pace with quick balls over the top, without ever threatening the United goal.After a cagey opening, the match exploded into life in the eighth minute as both sides were reduced to 10 men.After Ciftci and Scott Brown had clashed, with the United player appearing to kick out at the Celtic skipper, Calum Butcher went in recklessly on van Dijk.As the two players tangled on the ground, the Dutchman didn’t appear to have done much wrong, but he and Paton – in what could only be a case of mistaken identity – were given their marching orders by referee Craig Thomson.It took some time for each team to regain any momentum as they readjusted to their new set of circumstances.

The Hoops did threaten in flashes, particularly when Izaguirre and Stokes combined down the left, but the first meaningful effort fell the way of the hosts midway through the half.As Connolly prepared the pull the trigger inside the box, Brown made a magnificent last-ditch tackle on the forward, and when the ball broke to the edge of the box, the home side were awarded a free-kick. Ciftci took the set-piece and sent it inches wide of the post.Although the Hoops got into several promising positions, it took until three minutes before the break for them to test Cierzniak as Johansen drew a save from the goalkeeper with a shot from distance. Both teams then hit the woodwork in space of 60 seconds. First, the Bhoys then had a narrow escape as Butcher’s shot deflected off Ryan Dow and smacked the post. Moments later, Johansen held off his marker and played in Stokes but the Irishman could only find the upright.

With only seconds remaining until the interval, Jackie McNamara’s side took the lead as the controversy continued at Tannadice.Stokes made a challenge on Connolly in the box, and despite the Irishman making no contact, the United youngster hit the deck and the referee pointed to the spot. Ciftci, fortunate to still be on the pitch, converted the penalty despite Gordon’s best efforts.
Perhaps fuelled by a sense of injustice, Celtic burst from the blocks after the restart and immediately put the Terrors on the back foot.And within three minutes, they were presented with a golden chance to level the match. Stokes drove towards the byline and his cutback was hammered goalwards by Griffiths, only to be halted by Dixon’s outstretched hand.

Referee Thomson was left with no option other than to send the defender off and award another spot-kick. However, Griffiths was unsuccessful, his powerful shot brilliantly saved by Cierzniak to his left.Aided by their man advantage, Celtic continued to mount the pressure – Griffiths and Stokes went close, before the Hoops forced a succession of corners.It was one-way traffic but United did briefly threaten on the break, with Butcher’s final effort easily scooped up by Gordon.But then Cierzniak had be at his best to deny substitute John Guidetti, the keeper saving the striker’s venomous drive with his legs.Celtic’s frustration continued as Guidetti’s free-kick was charged down by the wall, before they finally broke United’s resistance 19 minutes from full-time.

Johansen showed wonderful vision to pick out Griffiths in the box and he planted a header beyond Cierzniak into the far corner.Having levelled the tie, Ronnny Deila’s men drove forward in search of a winner. Bitton saw a dipping drive whistle past the post and Guidetti could only fire over following Forrest’s cutback.Guidetti came within a whisker of grabbing a later winner as Bitton found him in the box but some brave goalkeeping from the onrushing Cierzniak denied the striker as the game ended in stalemate, keeping the Hoops’ treble dreams alive.

CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Ambrose, Denayer, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Brown, Bitton (Fisher 93), Forrest, Johansen, Stokes (Guidetti 63); Griffiths (Scepovic 87)
Not Used: Zaluska, Wakaso, McGregor, Henderson

DUNDEE UNITED (4-3-3) Cierzniak, McGowan, Dillon, Fojut, Dixon; Butcher, Paton, Rankin; Connolly (Souttar 50), Ciftci, Dow (Erskine 63)
Not Used: Szromnik, Telfer, Spittal, Bilate, Anier

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UPDATE: Scottish League Cup Final Tickets

TICKETS for the Scottish League Cup final, presented by QTS, are on sale from tomorrow (Tuesday, February 17) to Season Ticket holders who have been allocated a ticket.

TICKETS have been allocated to Season Ticket holders based on membership of the Home Cup Ticket Scheme, attendance at domestic away matches, attendance at previous League Cup matches against Hearts and Partick Thistle and attendance at the League Cup semi final.


Season Ticket holders can check if they have been allocated a ticket by logging on to the game when it goes on sale online.

To check your eligibility follow this link and click ‘Find Tickets’ next to the game:

Tickets are priced as follows:-
South Stand…£35 (limited availability)
North Stand…£28
East Stand……£28 Adults/£12 Under 16
(Please note, an under-16 must be accompanied by an adult to attend a match at the National Stadium).

THE deadline for those successful Season Ticket holders to purchase their ticket is 5pm on Friday, February 27.
Tickets can be purchased online HERE by calling 0871 226 1888* or by visiting the Celtic Ticket Office which is open Monday to Friday, 9.30am ‘til 5pm.

Please click HERE for extended opening hours. Booking fees apply on line and via booking line.

As there is no reprint facility available for tickets, all tickets booked online or via the booking line will also be subject to a Special Delivery Fee. Tickets booked online/via booking line cannot be uplifted from the Ticket Office.

For those on Season Ticket holders the Home Cup Ticket Scheme, tickets must be purchased via one of the above methods. Payment will NOT automatically be taken from accounts.

SEASON Ticket holders collecting tickets on behalf of fellow season ticket holders from the Ticket Office must bring all teamcards with them. Tickets will not be issued unless teamcards are provided.

ALL tickets are issued in accordance with Celtic Football Club’s Social Mission Statement, your Season Ticket terms and conditions and the club’s policy on Unacceptable Conduct at Celtic Park and Away stadia (available on

Any changes to the sales arrangements for this match will be detailed on

Season Ticket holders with queries on the arrangements for this match should contact the Ticket Office on 0141 230 1967.

*Calls cost 10 per minute, telecoms provider dependent. Mobile and other provider charges may vary. The booking line is open Monday to Friday, 8am til 8pm and Saturday/Sunday 8am ’til 6pm. Booking fees apply.

William Hill Scottish Cup television matches chosen

The William Hill Scottish Cup sixth round games chosen for live television broadcast have been announced today.

In the first of three live games, Falkirk will travel to SPFL Championship rivals Queen of the South at 7.35pm on Friday 6 March (BBC Scotland).

Then on Sunday there are two live games – both on Sky Sports. Hibernian will play the winner of Spartans v Berwick Rangers at 12.45pm before Dundee United host SPFL Premiership leaders Celtic at 3.30pm.

The live televised matches are as follows:

Queen of the South vs Falkirk | BBC Scotland | Friday 6 March 2015 at 7.35 pm

Hibernian vs Spartans or Berwick Rangers | Sky Sports | Sunday 8 March 2015 at 12.45 pm

Dundee United vs Celtic | Sky Sports | Sunday 8 March 2015 at 3.30 pm

William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final draw in full:

Inverness Caledonian Thistle vs Raith Rovers
Queen of the South vs Falkirk
Hibernian vs Spartans / Berwick Rangers
Dundee United vs Celtic

Ties to be played weekend of March 7th 2015

Scottish Cup fifth round

Dens Park, Dundee
Saturday, February 7, 2015


(Griffiths 6, Johansen 47)

CELTIC cruised into the Scottish Cup last eight and kept their treble dreams alive after a dominant 2-0 victory over Dundee at Dens Park.

256CE5E700000578-0-image-a-1_1423313671716 546fd1d19e5f1-johansen-750-2

Celtic v Dundee utd League Cup Final Sunday 15th March 2015 Hampden Park Glasgow 1430 K/o

Darren+McGregor+kZ00sT5FEl3m celtic-rangers-kris-commons_3259149

Celtic 2-0 Sevco5088 League  Cup Semi-final 1st feb 2015 Hampden Park

Goals Leigh Griffith ,Chris Commons

_45570160_celtic416pa Neil-Lennon-005


Queen of the South v St Johnstone

Rangers v Raith Rovers

Dundee v Celtic

Hibernian v Arbroath

Falkirk v Annan Athletic or Brechin City

Stranraer or Dunfermline Athletic v Dundee United

Partick Thistle v St Mirren or Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Spartans v Berwick Rangers or Albion Rovers

Ties to be played on the weekend of 7/8 February. Link To Go To Video

highlights 4th round Heart 0-4 Celtic 30th nov 2014

van Dijk 29′, 61′Guidetti 52′ (pen)Stokes 54

 The ties will be played on the weekend of 29/30 November.2014

Scottish Cup fourth round draw

St Johnstone
Ross County
St Mirren
Inverness CT
Hurlford Utd or Stirling Albion
Raith Rovers
Queen of the South
Brora Rangers
Elgin City or Bo’ness Utd
Morton or Airdrieonians
Berwick Rangers
Albion Rovers
Brechin City
Ayr United or Alloa
Dundee United
Partick Thistle



  • Celtic Rangers  15:00
  • Dundee Utd Aberdeen  15:00

115276989 William-Hill-Scottish-Cup-2013-2014-213x300Scottish League Cup

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