Scottish League Cup - Semi-Final
Celtic2Rangers0

Celtic 2-0 Rangers

  • Celtic win to set up final with Dundee United
  • Leigh Griffiths and Kris Commons with first-half goals
  • First Old Firm meeting since April 2012

Celtic eased to victory over Rangers at Hampden to set up a League Cup final with Dundee United.

In the first match between the sides since April 2012, Leigh Griffiths nodded the Premiership leaders in front on 10 minutes, with Kris Commons adding a powerful strike from 20 yards.

Virgil van Dijk and Stefan Johansen went close in a one-sided first half.

Rangers were more determined in a dreary second half but failed to register a single shot on target.

Old habits die hard. It may have been almost three years since the teams last met, but the routines of the Old Firm immediately fell back into place: the noise, the colour, the taunting, even songs and offensive terms that ought to have been left in the past.

All that was missing was a true sense of tension. Celtic scored early, when Griffiths slipped between two Rangers defenders to meet Johansen's cross with a solid header past Steve Simonsen from close range.

The striker's play was artful and deft, and it delivered a resounding blow to Rangers.

Rangers caretaker manager Kenny McDowall's game plan was clear enough: the defence sat deep and the five-man midfield dropped off as Celtic carries the ball forward.

Containment was their hope. Celtic were more adventurous, although they never lost a grip on their composure or self-assurance.

At one stage, Mikael Lustig's hungry stride ate up the ground as he left Lee Wallace, normally so dynamic a figure, in his wake. It was a reflection, it seemed, on the greater intensity of Celtic's play. Even when Rangers were dutiful, Celtic could still benefit.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila
Celtic manager Ronny Deila enjoyed victory in his first meeting with Rangers

Fraser Aird broke up one attack only to pass the ball short, leading to Anthony Stokes shooting over. Minutes later, Nicky Law slid to clear the ball from danger, but it rolled straight to Commons, who lashed his effort into the top corner.

"Always look on the bright side of life," the Celtic fans sang. The opposition supporters were momentarily silenced, and might have been lost to wondering how many goals their side might concede.

There should have been a third, certainly, when Van Dijk clumsily headed a corner over from inside the six yard box. Then only Simonsen's flailing leg prevented Johansen from slipping the ball past him.

Rangers, whose players were wearing black armbands in memory of long-time Ibrox steward Davie Byers, lacked any cutting edge; even set-pieces were poorly delivered. There was more energy and threat from them in the second half, with McDowall having replaced Aird with Jon Daly.

Even so, it took a sliding Darren McGregor challenge to block Commons from shooting from close range. Griffiths then curled a free-kick just wide.

For all that Rangers remained lively, Celtic were comfortable; goalkeeper Craig Gordon only has to watch a Lee Wallace chip drift over. It was, ultimately, the closest that the Ibrox side came.

There was still time for a couple of inevitable flare-ups, with players from both sides becoming embroiled in spats. They amounted to little, though. This was an Old Firm game in all but significant competitive tension.

Leigh Griffiths was booked for his goal celebrations
Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths was booked for his goal celebrations
Kris Commons (left) celebrates making it 2-0 to Celtic after half an hour
Kris Commons (left) celebrates making it 2-0 to Celtic after half an hour
Lee Wallace and Ian Black squeeze out Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths
Rangers put up a more determined fight in the second half

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 26Gordon
  • 23LustigBooked at 42minsSubstituted forMatthewsat 84'minutes
  • 22Denayer
  • 5van Dijk
  • 3Izaguirre
  • 8BrownBooked at 90mins
  • 6Bitton
  • 15Commons
  • 25Johansen
  • 10StokesSubstituted forForrestat 74'minutes
  • 28GriffithsBooked at 11minsSubstituted forGuidettiat 68'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Matthews
  • 4Ambrose
  • 9Guidetti
  • 12Scepovic
  • 24Zaluska
  • 49Forrest
  • 53Henderson

Rangers

  • 31Simonsen
  • 23FosterBooked at 90mins
  • 24McGregor
  • 6McCulloch
  • 5Wallace
  • 8Black
  • 4AirdSubstituted forDalyat 45'minutes
  • 7Law
  • 20HuttonBooked at 65mins
  • 2Smith
  • 18MillerSubstituted forClarkat 81'minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Daly
  • 11Templeton
  • 14Clark
  • 15Boyd
  • 16Faure
  • 22Shiels
  • 25Robinson
Referee:
Craig Thomson
Attendance:
50,925

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamRangers
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home12
Away1
Shots on Target
Home4
Away0
Corners
Home3
Away1
Fouls
Home20
Away21

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 2, Rangers 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Celtic 2, Rangers 0.

Booking

Scott Brown (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Ian Black (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Nir Bitton (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Richard Foster (Rangers).

Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Richard Foster (Rangers).

Nir Bitton (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jon Daly (Rangers).

Foul by Stefan Johansen (Celtic).

Ian Black (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Nir Bitton (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

James Forrest (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kyle Hutton (Rangers).

James Forrest (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ian Black (Rangers).

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jon Daly (Rangers).

Foul by John Guidetti (Celtic).

Lee McCulloch (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Adam Matthews replaces Mikael Lustig.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Nicky Clark replaces Kenny Miller.

Attempt missed. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right is too high.

Kris Commons (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Ian Black (Rangers).

Foul by Nir Bitton (Celtic).

Jon Daly (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. James Forrest replaces Anthony Stokes.

Kris Commons (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Lee Wallace (Rangers).

Foul by John Guidetti (Celtic).

Ian Black (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Lee Wallace (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Foul by Stefan Johansen (Celtic).

Steven Smith (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. John Guidetti replaces Leigh Griffiths.

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Kyle Hutton (Rangers).

goal

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