herald

Sunday 20 October 2019

Christ' almighty

Celtic 1 Aberdeen 0

CHAMPIONS: Celtic players and staff celebrate with the Betfred Cup trophy after their win over Aberdeen. Pic: PA Wire
CHAMPIONS: Celtic players and staff celebrate with the Betfred Cup trophy after their win over Aberdeen. Pic: PA Wire

Ryan Christie was the hero as Celtic made it a magnificent seven successive trophy wins with a 1-0 victory over Aberdeen in the Betfred Cup final at Hampden Park yesterday.

The midfielder, who had two spells on loan at the Pittodrie club prior to this season, scored what proved to be the winner with a shot in added time at the end of the first half.

Dons keeper Joe Lewis brilliantly saved Scott Sinclair's controversial penalty in the 52nd minute of a pulsating second-half which thrilled until the final whistle.

Since taking charge of the Parkead club in 2016, boss Brendan Rodgers (right) has won every piece of domestic silverware on offer and this most recent victory - the 18th in the competition for Celtic - is the first step towards a domestic treble treble.

"We played against a tough team at the end of a tough week," Rodgers said afterwards.

"Probably of all the trophies that we've won, this is the most satisfying because it wasn't an easy start to the season for us.

"The players showed that mentality and strength and talent. Big hearts they've got and now another trophy.

"I take great pride in the fact we've now won seven trophies in a row, and it feels great, but my happiness is more for the players and the supporters. The players deserve a huge amount of credit because they've been amazing since I've come in."

Hoops midfielder Tom Rogic struck the outside of the post in the seventh minute with a shot from 25 yards before James Forrest's attempt with the outside of his right foot escaped keeper Lewis's right-hand post by a yard.

Scott Bain was tested for the first time in the 16th minute with a close-range shot from Andrew Considine following a corner although the flag was up for offside.

Bain then saved a header from Gary-Mackay Steven who in the process clattered heads with Dedryck Boyata.

The Hoops defender was able to play on after treatment but the former Celt, after a lengthy spell of attention from the medical staff, was taken off the field in a stretcher to an ovation from both sets of supporters, to be replaced by Connor McLennan.

Forced

There were six added minutes at the end of the first half and just before they came to an end Celtic went ahead.

Christie raced on to a long pass from Boyata, forced his way past Dons captain Graeme Shinnie and with Shay Logan and Scott McKenna also in the vicinity, he slammed the ball high into the net, after his first shot had been parried by Lewis.

There was drama seven minutes after the break when Dons midfielder Dominic Ball was judged by referee Andrew Dallas to have handled a Christie pass inside the box.

It looked not only accidental but outside the penalty area - but Lewis threw himself to his right to push Sinclair's penalty behind for a corner which was defended by the Pittodrie side who recognised they had been given a lifeline.

Lewis then saved a powerful drive from Celtic defender Filip Benkovic and again the Dons held firm at the corner.

Defender Jozo Simunovic replaced Boyata on the hour-mark and immediately his attempted clearance smacked off his own crossbar.

McKenna flashed a header across the Celtic six-yard box before Lewis saved two Odsonne Edouard attempts.

However, Aberdeen ran out of time before Celtic fans celebrated another trophy win with more promised before the end of the season.

Hero Christie admitted he feared his Celtic career might have been nearing its end in the summer.

The 23-year-old took his recent tally to five goals in eight matches with the cup final winner after signing a new contract and helping Scotland to two crucial Nations League victories last month.

"It's very special for me and my family and all my friends," he said. "It's been an up-and-down season for me and a pretty crazy turn of events in the last few months, but that shows how football can work sometimes. I'm delighted for the whole team, not just me, to get over the line.

"It's so strange, it's hard to look back and put myself in the frame of mind that I was at the start of the season."

"I'm obviously delighted with the way things have turned out and long may it continue because I'm loving my football at Celtic right now. Even when I signed my contract I said I wanted to make an impact and help the club win silverware and days like this help that."

 

 

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