Celtic’s League Cup Advent Calendar – Win No.19


It was as well that the League Cup final of the 2019/20 season was held in December 2019, otherwise it might have been postponed and suspended in the general panic that accompanied the first lockdown of the pandemic. As it was, we faced the horrors of the impending catastrophe in early 2020, secure in the knowledge that we had at least one trophy on the sideboard. We would win the other two as well, but in bizarre circumstances.

Neil Lennon had now returned as Manager following the abrupt and irrational departure of Brendan Rodgers, and as it happened, this would be the only Scottish League Cup that he would win as Manager of Celtic.

It was nice to see Dunfermline Athletic again at Celtic Park. There had been a time when they were one of the leading lights of Scottish football, but the Pars had fallen on bad times. But here they were at Celtic Park on 17 August, putting up a great performance and taking Celtic to extra time.

Celtic had recently sold Kieran Tierney to the distress of their supporters and had blown up in Europe in midweek against Cluj, so Parkhead was a far from happy place that day and it was as well that Mikey Johnston and James Forrest got the goals to see Celtic through. The behaviour of the Dunfermline support, once famous for their chivalry and sportsmanship, had dipped a little since we last saw them and some of their chants were not nice.

Fewer problems were forthcoming in the quarter finals when Partick Thistle made the short journey to Celtic Park. 25,008 saw an easy 5-0 victory. Bayo in one of his rare appearances for the club, scored in the first half and then goals came at regular intervals in the second half.

The semi-finals were Edinburgh v Glasgow with Celtic playing Hibs on Saturday 2 November and theRangers take on Hearts the following day. Both were at Hampden and Celtic’s game had a funny tea time kick-off.

Glasgow would win on both occasions and Celtic supporters were happy with the way that their team played in a 5-2 victory. Scott Brown scored twice and Elyounoussi did likewise with Callum McGregor getting the other goal. theRangers’ easy win over a lacklustre Hearts side meant that it would be an all Glasgow League Cup final on 8 December, with theRangers seeking their first domestic trophy in their new incarnation since their bankruptcy and disgrace in 2012.

There were other things going on as well, not least a General Election which was due to take place on the Thursday after the League Cup final. Seldom do politics and football correspond, but this time it was hard to resist the conclusion that the strident Union Jack wavers were likely to vote for Boris Johnston and Brexit, whereas Conservative voters would be hard to find at the Celtic end.

Celtic were ahead in the Premier League, albeit marginally, but theRangers were well fancied by the media. The game would be close, and it would be like so many League Cup finals in the past, like those of 1964, 1986, 1990 and 2003, for example where the better team lost – except this one was in reverse. theRangers had far more of the ball and enjoyed more territorial supremacy, but they were the ones that lost! Celtic got a goal at the right time, and stayed ahead. Indeed they might have scored again.

The first half saw little between the sides, but in the 60th minute, Celtic went ahead when Christopher Jullien nudged home a free kick. The media tried to say he was offside, but referee Willie Collum and his linesman saw nothing wrong. theRangers’ onslaught continued and eventually they won a penalty in an incident which also saw Jeremie Frimpong sent off, according to the latter of the law. But to the delight of the Celtic end, Alfredo Morelos missed, and Celtic held out with goalkeeper Fraser Forster deservedly named the Man of the Match.

The team was Forster, Frimpong, Jullien, Ajer, Hayes, Brown, McGregor, Forrest (Bitton), Christie, Elyounoussi (Johnston) Morgan (Edouard)

David Potter


* Fingers crossed, Celtic’s League Cup Advent Calendar – Win No.20 will be featured on The Celtic Star tomorrow morning. All depends on what happens his afternoon at Hampden. COYBIG!

About Author

I am Celtic author and historian and write for The Celtic Star. I live in Kirkcaldy and have followed Celtic all my life, having seen them first at Dundee in March 1958. I am a retired teacher and my other interests are cricket, drama and the poetry of Robert Burns.

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