Scottish League Cup Final
Celtic ride their luck to clinch 10th trophy in a row
Joy: Celtic celebrate (pic: SNS Group)
Rangers 0 Celtic 1
Goalkeeper Fraser Forster was the hero for Celtic as they secured their 10th successive domestic trophy.
The Englishman produced a string of saves to keep his side in a game dominated by their opponents.
The Hoops rode their luck for long periods and the winner came with their only shot on target after an hour, Christopher Jullien finishing from close range from what looked an offside position.
Rangers were chasing their first major honour for eight years and will be wondering just how they came off second best.
Ibrox talisman Alfredo Morelos has yet to score against Celtic and the Colombian will never have a better chance to break his duck after missing a 63rd-minute penalty.
The striker was pulled down in the box by Jeremie Frimpong, the teenage full-back shown a red card for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
Forster was up to the task, though, blocking his effort to cap a stunning display between the sticks, which will not have gone unnoticed by England manager Gareth Southgate.
Rangers only have themselves to blame, though, scorning enough chances to win two games and eventually running out of ideas as the Celtic defence stood firm.
“Fraser Forster was outstanding,” said Lennon. “He made some unbelievable saves, world-class saves.
“We didn’t get going in the first half, second half we were better. The introduction of Odsonne [Edouard] gave us a real spark. The mentality of the team is amazing. They’ve won 10 in a row – I don’t know how they do it.
“We weren’t great today but we still won and that’s what cup football is all about.
“You’ve got to give credit to Rangers today they played great and made the cup final what it was.”
The manner of the win – Celtic’s fourth League Cup in a row – could prove significant in the title race.
The Parkhead outfit are two points ahead of Rangers in their quest to make it nine league titles in a row and their confidence will have soared, while Rangers will be demoralised.
How Steven Gerrard, rumoured to be ready to sign a new contract, and his players react in the next few weeks will go a long way to deciding how significant a challenge they can mount in their bid to break Celtic’s dominance.
“I’ve got a big job to pick them all up because it’s a tough one,” the Rangers boss said. “It’s raw right now but this is football at the top. We’ll suffer and then we’ll bounce back.
“I’ll stay with these players. On the evidence of what I’ve seen today, performance-wise, I’m staying right behind them.”