Celtic v Rangers – story of the match
The Hoops set up another final with Motherwell.
Celtic’s dream of clinching an unprecedented double treble remains very much alive after they swept Rangers aside with a crushing 4-0 win in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final.
Rangers tried to sit in and frustrate Brendan Rodgers’ men at Hampden but that simply played into the Hoops’ hands as they grabbed the initiative with first-half goals from Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor.
And with the Light Blues reduced to 10 men after Ross McCrorie was sent off right at the start of the second period, Moussa Dembele and Olivier Ntcham both tucked home penalties to confirm Celtic’s place in the May 19 final against Motherwell.
Tweet of the match
Dembele has been on another planet today!— Tony Watt (@Tony_Watt7) April 15, 2018
Moment of the match
... Because of the wonderful things he does! 🧙♂️🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/4bmVJznWaB— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018
The game was as good as over the second Rogic slotted the Hoops ahead in the 22nd minute. It was another display of the Australian’s ability to turn on the magic on the big occasion as he sold McCrorie a dummy before twisting the other way to stroke home. But more than that it immediately snuffed out any faint reserves of belief still held within the Rangers ranks, leaving Rodgers’ team to cruise to victory.
Star man – Moussa Dembele
MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! 😎😎😎 pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018
The Frenchman has not quite been the lethal force this term that he was during his debut campaign in Scotland. But he always manages to raise his game against Celtic’s derby rivals and once again he was the man to spearhead victory over Rangers. He had a hand in Rogic’s opener and then lured McCrorie into the last-man tug which got the Rangers youngster dismissed. His cheeky ‘Panenka’ spot-kick was his seventh Old Firm strike in just nine games.
View from the bench
Rodgers again reigned supreme as Graeme Murty’s job prospects went up in smoke. It was said the Ibrox boss needed to mastermind a victory over their bitter rivals to retain any hope of keeping his job beyond the summer. However, by telling his side to sit off Celtic, it merely gave the Hoops time and space to play, which they ruthlessly exploited. Rodgers’ only dilemma before kick-off had been on who to start up front but he got it right after choosing Dembele ahead of Leigh Griffiths, with the result extending his unbeaten run against Rangers to 10 games.
Andy Halliday hung out to dry
The midfielder was certainly not the only man in blue who failed to turn up at Hampden but he did not deserve the indignity of being hauled off five minutes before the break, much to the delight of the Celtic supporters. His frustration was clear as he got himself embroiled in an angry exchange with a supporter but Murty really should have waited until the half-time interval to make his change.
Celtic: Craig Gordon 8; Mikael Lustig 6, Kris Ajer 6, Dedryck Boyata 6, Kieran Tierney 7, Scott Brown 7, Olivier Ntcham 7, James Forrest 7, Tom Rogic 7, Callum McGregor 7, Moussa Dembele 9. Subs: Scott Sinclair (for Rogic, 60) 6, Patrick Roberts (for Forrest, 73) 6, Leigh Griffiths (for Dembele, 79) 4.
Rangers: Wes Foderingham 6, James Tavernier 6, Ross McCrorie 4, Russell Martin 5, Declan John 5, Andy Halliday 4, Daniel Candeias 5, Graham Dorrans 5, Greg Docherty 5, Jamie Murphy 5, Alfredo Morelos 5. Subs: Josh Windass (for Halliday, 41) 4, Bruno Alves (for Candeias, 53) 6, Jason Holt (for Dorrans, 73) 4.
Who’s up next?
Hibernian v Celtic (Ladbrokes Premiership, Saturday, April 21)
Rangers v Hearts (Ladbrokes Premiership, Sunday, April 22)