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  • Celtic's Hampden triumph in Scottish League Cup final

    Celtic's Hampden triumph in Scottish League Cup final

    By: Martin Dalziel on 15 Mar, 2015 17:06

  • 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.

    Website man of the match: Scott Brown

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