By: Laith Al Naeme on 20 Apr, 2017 21:20
City of Glasgow Cup Final
Thursday, April 20, 2017
(Henderson 17, Aitchison 68)
JACK Aitchison was the hero as Celtic’s Under-17s secured a 2-1 win over Rangers at Firhill tonight (Thursday) to lift the City of Glasgow Cup for the fourth year running.
Despite a tense end to the game, with the Hoops reduced to 10 men following Kerr McInroy’s dismissal, Michael O’Halloran’s side dominated the derby clash thanks to two clinical strikes in each half through Ewan Henderson and Aitchison.
The majority of chances in the game fell Celtic’s way and the Bhoys saw out the final stages in comfortable fashion to retain the historic trophy.
There were five survivors in Michael O’Halloran’s strong starting XI from the team that started in last season’s showpiece at Ibrox, which the young Hoops won 4-0.
And inside the first five minutes Celtic were on the attack as Henderson skipped past his marker and drove into the box. The midfielder was unable to get his shot on target, though.
The young Hoops continued to pour forward with pace and purpose and Campbell was next to try his luck, driving down the right and his thumping attempt at goal produced a solid stop from Kinnear.
It had been an impressive start to the match from the Celts, and their lead came in deserved fashion.
Following a tricky run into the box from Aitchison, the ball fell to Henderson who made no mistake, chipping the ball over the Rangers keeper to give his side the advantage on the 17th minute.
It took another 10 minutes for Rangers to create their first real opening. Rudden attempted to unlock the Hoops defence inside the box but Mullen was equal to the powerful strike.
At the other end, Aitchison was close to finding the net with a curling effort after some lovely play by McInroy. The Rangers stopper, however, did well to palm away. A crafty piece of play in the middle gave McInroy a sight of goal in the 33rd minute, the midfielder connected well with the ball but it fell just wide.
But with a minute left to play in the half, Matthew Shiels managed to grab an equaliser for the Ibrox side despite Celtic dominating.
The winger steadied himself and took aim, firing a low swerving shot past Mullen and into the corner to level the scoreline going into the break.
Rangers came close to going ahead early in the second-half when Rudden drove into the area but was tackled brilliantly by captain Robbie Deas. Shiels went looking for his second in the 56th minute but his deflected shot was saved comfortably by Mullen in the Celtic net.
Rudden again proved a threat for the Celtic defence, the attacker making room for himself outside the box but again Mullen was there to deny the shot.
The Bhoys took control of possession five minutes later as Campbell and Deas both came close to restoring the lead. But it wasn’t long until O’Halloran’s side did grab the second, however, and it came after some brilliant individual skill from Aitchison in the box.
The striker produced some stunning footwork to step away from two challenges and found the composure to slot the ball away from Kinnear in the 68th minute to make it 2-1.
Rudden tried to grab his side a quick leveller ten minutes later. Picked out in the edge of the area, his shot was fired over the bar.
McInroy, impressive in the heart of the Celtic midfield throughout the game, was unlucky to receive a second yellow card, resulting in the Hoops playing the last five minutes with 10 men.
The Ibrox side rallied late on and went close to equalising through Zata who was picked out in the box through a Gilmour set-piece but struggled to keep his header on target.
The Celts held out resolutely until full-time, however, to seal another memorable City of Glasgow Cup final victory.
CELTIC (4-3-3) Mullen; Potter, Welsh, Deas, Church; Henderson, Marku (McGrath 77), McInroy; Campbell (McKay 88), Aitchison, Caffrey (Savoury 45)
Subs: Rae, Robertson, Kennedy, Kerr
Website Man of the Match: Ewan Henderson