Celtic beat Rangers to reach cup final and keep treble hopes alive

A place in the Scottish Cup final was on the line at Hampden onSunday.

Celtic reach Scottish Cup final as they beat Rangers to keep treble hopes alive SNS Group

Celtic have defeated Rangers at Hampden to reach the Scottish Cup final and keep their dream of a historic treble alive.

The 1-0 victory is the Hoops fourth Old Firm win from five this season as they continue to get the better of their city rivals during a season to forget for the Ibrox men who will now finish trophy-less for the first time in three years.

With only one more win needed to clinch the Premiership title, only Inverness Caledonian Thistle realistically stand between them and a world record eighth domestic clean sweep.

A goal from returning winger Jota at the end of the first-half was enough to seal the game at a rainy national stadium on Sunday.

Referee Willie Collum was replaced before kick-off after suffering an injury in the warm-up with Don Robertson taking charge instead.

The first opportunity of the game fell to Rangers after 20 seconds when Raskin tried his luck from outside the box and won a corner during a frantic start at Hampden.

Celtic settled into the game first and had the best of the early possession without troubling Allan McGregor to any great deal.

Both sides had a couple of corners in a scrappy opening 20 minutes with neither goalkeeper having much to do otherwise.

Celtic’s first attempt on goal came through Alistair Johnston when the right-back forced McGregor into a save with a speculative effort and Jota won another corner with the follow up.

Rangers were forced into the first change of the match when Malik Tillman went down injured and the USA international was replaced by former Canada player Scott Arfield ten minutes before half-time.

Just when it looked as if they were going into the break goalless, Jota popped up with a header to make it 1-0 after good play from Maeda on the left.

The goal was the Portuguese star’s fourth goal against Rangers since he signed from Benfica in 2021.

The Hoops were well worth the lead going into the break after a frantic first half in front of of a wall of noise in the stadium with both sets of fans in full voice.

Rangers were left with a mountain to climb going into the second half and Michael Beale made another change by replacing Ryan Kent with Fashion Sakala.

It was the Ibrox side that came out of the traps quickest and Cameron Carter-Vickers was forced to clear one of the line after a goalmouth scramble just two minutes into the second 45.

Celtic were then forced into their first change of the match when Johnston was replaced by Anthony Ralston in a like-for-like swap at right-back.

Kyogo then came close to doubling the lead on the 56th minute but his effort was well saved by Mcgregor to keep Rangers in it.

Sakala had an opportunity to draw level but he never got enough on his header to trouble Joe Hart who made an easy save.

Two minutes later and it was Arfield’s turn and this time Hart had to stretch to make a diving save from the long range shot.

It was end to end stuff at this stage with Kyogo coming close with a long range effort before Tavernier hit the post and Sakala put it into the side netting from the rebound.

Postecoglou then decided to ring the changes as he brought Tomoki Iwata, Sead Haksabanovic and Aaron Mooy for Jota, O’Riley and Hatate with 25 minutes left on the clock.

Beale was next to send for reinforcements as they chased the equaliser and Ridvan and Matondo replaced Barisic and Raskin.

Rangers started to take control and had their best period as the game reached its final stages but Celtic continued to hang on and deal well with the pressure.

Maeda then nearly put the tie to bed from a counter attack but his close range effort was turned away for a corner.

Kyogo was replaced by South Korean forward Oh as the looked to see out the game with less than ten minutes of regulation time.

The Hoops will now return to Hampden to play Inverness on June 3.

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