Celtic retain Scottish Cup by beating Rangers in historic Hampden final

Natasha Flint and Claire O’Riordan scored in the second half to settle the derby final.

Celtic retain Scottish Women’s Cup by beating Rangers in historic Hampden final SNS Group

Celtic retained the Scottish Women’s Cup with an historic and well-deserved 2-0 win over Rangers in the final at Hampden Park.

The first time the two teams had met in the final of the competition was also the first time the showpiece game was hosted at the national stadium and Fran Alonso’s side emerged triumphant.

Second-half goals from Natasha Flint and Claire O’Riordan, for a Celtic side who were much more of a threat throughout, ensured the trophy again would be adorned in green and white ribbons.

It was Malky Thomson’s last game in charge of Rangers before he returns to the club’s academy but his side, who secured the Sky Sports Cup earlier this season, came up short.

Both clubs narrowly missed out on the league title last week, which was won by Glasgow City’s dramatic late goal against the Light Blues at Ibrox, but it was a slow start at Hampden Park.

In the ninth minute, Celtic attacker Jacynta struck the top of the crossbar with her corner from the left, the ball going over.

The Hoops favoured going down the left flank and began to make inroads towards Rangers goalkeeper Victoria Esson, in for Jenna Fife.

There was a moment of panic in the Gers’ six-yard box in the 15th minute from another Jacynta corner, Flint getting her head to the ball before Chloe Craig knocked it past the post on the stretch.

The Hoops looked the more dangerous of the two sides while their goalkeeper Pamela Tajonar was a virtual spectator until she plucked a cross from Gers defender Rachel McLauchlan out of the air on the half-hour mark.

In the 40th minute, Celtic’s Flint ambitiously tried to beat Esson from inside her own half with a long-range punt but the Gers keeper was back to gather comfortably.

Alonso’s side should have gone into the interval a goal to the good.

Just before the break, Celtic attacker Shen Mengyu robbed Rangers defender Hannah Davison 35 yards from goal but with only Esson to beat, she dragged her shot wide of the target and the best chance of the half was gone.

Celtic began the second half positively with Jacynta racing clear before driving wide of the target.

Alonso’s side were slowly racking up the corners and from a Jacynta delivery in the 62nd minute, Esson struggled to deal with a header from Caitlin Hayes.

Moments later, after Davison’s last-gasp tackle thwarted Celtic substitute Kit Loferski, Celtic got the breakthrough from another Jacynta corner.

Esson punched away the delivery but the ball fell to Flint inside the six-yard box and she turned and knocked the ball into the net.

Three minutes later, from another corner, O’Riordan glanced a header into the net at the front post with Esson somehow on the ground.

Rangers had their first real opportunity in the 78th minute but substitute Laura Berry’s effort lacked the pace and height to unduly bother Tajonar.

Moments later, Kirsty Maclean sent Berry scuttling in behind the Celtic defence and she beat Tajonar from six yards only for VAR to intervene and declare offside and with that decision went any chance of a Rangers comeback.

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