Rodgers jokes Celtic players will need therapy after epic Hampden win 

Celtic defeated Aberdeen on penalties following the teams' 3-3 draw after extra-time.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers joked that his players will need therapy sessions after a nail-biting penalty shoot-out win over Aberdeen.

The holders booked a place in the Scottish Cup final against either Hearts or Rangers but only after sharing six goals with Aberdeen after extra time, and then triumphing 6-5 on penalties.

Rodgers has never lost a Scottish Cup tie, or suffered a defeat at Hampden as Celtic boss, but he was put through the wringer before Joe Hart saved Killian Phillips’ spot kick. And that moment of drama only came after the Celtic goalkeeper had hit the post when taking a penalty himself.

Aberdeen had taken the lead through Bojan Miovski after two minutes but Nicholas Kuhn levelled for Celtic in the first half. After the break, substitute James Forrest put Celtic ahead, only for Ester Sokler to head in a last-gasp equaliser and force extra time.

Matt O’Riley restored Celtic’s lead in the first half of extra time but Aberdeen stand-in captain Angus MacDonald headed in another equaliser in the 119th minute to take the tie to penalties.

“It was a fantastic game,” Rodgers said. “I said to the players, we don’t need football sessions over the next couple of days, we need therapy sessions after that.

“It will stand us in good stead going forward.

“Listen, it is part of the game, if you don’t close it out, then that can happen.

“We had to put it to one side, once we went to extra-time, and then didn’t quite see it through and then you have to focus on penalties, and what we worked on in the last couple of days. The players just had to commit to their side of the goal and they did that very well.”

The Celtic boss thought both teams played their part in delivering an exciting spectacle and said his players showed “big heart and real nerve” to keep responding to setbacks. He also credited substitute James Forrest with playing a vital role after the veteran winger came off the bench to score.

“Big credit to both sets of players,” he said. “We made a disappointing start in the game. They get the goal and scored a very good goal but our players came back into it, get the equaliser and then we get a bit more control in the game.

“At the beginning of the second half we started to find our rhythm and control the ball a lot more. And that allows us then to create opportunities. Jamesie Forrest coming in was brilliant in the game.

“He gives us that ability to keep the ball because in the first half we arrive up in the final third of the pitch and we, we weren’t securing the ball. So he comes in and starts to combine, starts to keep the ball and gets the goal. And then we’ve got other chances to close the game out.

“But credit to Aberdeen as well because they kept fighting. They kept coming back. but by the end the players showed a big heart and, real nerve to win the shoot-out.”

Rodgers also praised Joe Hart for showing a strong mentality after the goalkeeper missed his own penalty in the shoot-out but then saved from Phillips to put Celtic in the final.

 “We were going through it in the last couple of days and he was one of the designated takers, for the fifth one,” the manager said.

“I think he is trying to get it as wide as he can, he sees their goalkeeper (Kelle Roos) is injured, he is trying to move him as much as he can in the goal.

“But he lets it go and comes up and makes the crucial save for us.

“Joe is very upbeat and positive. I always say to players to take risks, and he is a very good penalty taker, we see it in training.

“He has taken it, he has missed it, but he didn’t get down on himself, and ended up being the hero.”

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