Celtic claimed their first silverware under Ange Postecoglou today when this new team, that was literally constructed over a few months during the summer, proved their mettle after going a goal down to claim the Premier Sports League Cup at Hampden Park.
The National Stadium was absolutely rocking pre match with the light show and pyrotechnics helping generate a fantastic atmosphere worthy of the first cup final in almost two years that actually had fans present. Today really did prove that football without fans means nothing and such an occasion as today needs supporters in the stadium to give it that special feel.
Celtic dominated the first half and looked dangerous throughout but in all honesty never actually fashioned too many clear cut chances, with Starfelt’s free header from a corner the best of the lot. It was great to have Kyogo back in attack but the Japanese striker was actually quiet in the first period although he was keeping the Hibs defence busy by constantly looking to peel off them and make probing runs.
In the second half the game really sparked into life when Paul Hanlon headed caretaker boss David Gray’s side in front when Carl Starfelt lost the Hibs captain at a corner and Joe Hart failed to come out and claim the ball leaving him free to bury the ball into the Celtic net.
Losing goals from set pieces is a real handicap to this Celtic team and something needs to be done right away to sort this out. I feel nervous everytime we concede a corner or a free kick around the box as it seems like we present the opposition opportunities in these situations almost everytime. Very frustrating.
Thankfully the Hibs fans celebrations had barely died down when Kyogo netted a quick fire leveller inside 60 seconds of the restart, saving my fingernails from taking a hammering in the process. Callum McGregor picked out Kyogo with a brilliant pass and the Japanese star controlled it beautifully before confidently slotting it past the keeper.
Joe Hart then spared Carl Starfelt’s blushes as he pulled off a great save from the onrushing Kevin Nisbit to keep the scores level before Tom Rogic sent a ball over the top for Kyogo who showed unbelievable awareness and skill as he ran between the Hibs defence and lobbed the ball over Matt Macey in the Hibs goal to score what proved to be the winner.
We all already loved our little striker from Japan, but today Kyogo has wrote himself into the history books at Celtic and I know I’m not alone when I say I hope he graces Celtic Park for many years to come as he really is a truly special player. Not only that but after his performance today, and remember there is absolutely no way he was anywhere near 100% fit, he has proved he’s the man for the big occasion which is priceless. Let’s all pray he can remain injury free for the rest of the season.
It was fantastic to see Ange Postecoglou really enjoy the victory and the celebrations after the final whistle and he deserves all the praise coming his way. To pick our club off the floor after the absolute disaster that was last season and lead us to picking up the first silverware on offer this season is a fantastic achievement, and I have a feeling that this is only the beginning of an era of success under Ange. Exciting times lie ahead and the board should be under no illusions that we have a brilliant manager on our hands who should be backed fully.
It was also great to watch Callum McGregor lift his first trophy as Celtic captain. Callum is the polar opposite of our previous captain, the legendary Scott Brown, but is proving that he doesn’t need to be like Scott to be successful. Callum leads by example and has been excellent this season and the armband seems to have inspired him. Hopefully we will see Callum lift plenty of more silverware over the next few years.
Well done to all involved today, a well deserved win in front of a brilliant crowd. I hope all the players and management team enjoy tonight and that getting their hands on that trophy and the taste of success inspires them to go on to even greater things this season.
HARRY HOOD – TWICE AS GOOD – There’s still time to order your signed copy of Harry Hood – Twice as Good from Celtic Star Books. We’ll post FIRST CLASS to you first thing Monday morning and you’ll receive it in plenty time for Christmas…we also have Invicible and Alec McNair, Celtic’s Icicle available for only £10 each. You can order below: