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  • Dominant Celts lift 100th major honour at Hampden

    Dominant Celts lift 100th major honour at Hampden

    By: Mark Henderson on 27 Nov, 2016 17:16

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

    CELTIC...3
    (Rogic 16, Forrest 37, Dembele 64 pen.)

    ABERDEEN...0

    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

    Website Man of the Match: James Forrest

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