MIKAEL LUSTIG and Scott Brown shared the honour of lifting the Betfred Cup at Hampden yesterday afternoon in what was a memorable day for Celtic.
The Swedish defender started the Final wearing the captain’s arm band and sprinted across the park to hand it over the Scott Brown when he came on in the second half to help see the game out.
Lustig, who has been on fine form in recent weeks, will find out in the next few weeks if Celtic wish to take up the option on his existing contract to extend for another season and all indications are that this will indeed happen.
If he is not wanted for next season then Lustig will return to Sweden to play his football and will have plenty of great memories to reflect on from a hugely successful time at Celtic.
Looking back on the latest medal win Mikael, speaking after the final to The Celtic View, was pleased that the defence held out for another clean sheet and bemoaned the chances missed at the other end that would have made things just a little bit more comfortable as the game progressed.
“We maybe didn’t create as many chances as we’d have liked, and with a little bit more quality in the last third, we could have scored three or four.
“But still, we got another clean sheet and seven in a row is incredible – I hope people don’t take it for granted,” Lustig stated.
“We also don’t look too far ahead, we focus one game at a time, and the month of December is a very busy one for us. We need the whole squad and we need to focus for the entirety of the month.”
He had some special praise for the Man of the Match Ryan Christie who grabbed the goal and the headlines after forcing his way into the starting eleven in recent weeks. The depth of quality in the Celtic squad can only hold us in good stead for the challenges ahead, reckons Lustig.
“Having such great depth in the squad is everything, especially if you want to win trophies, it’s vital. During a long a season, we know we’ll build up suspensions and injuries.
“The guys that have come into the team in recent weeks have been brilliant, the last seven or eight games have been really, really good.
“And it’s not difficult for us to switch gears between European games, domestic cup games and league games. We know every game from now until the end of the year is so important for us.
“Next, we play Motherwell away from home, that’s going to be a tough game for us, but we’re enjoying playing right now, confidence is high, we’re really strong at the back and creating chances at the other end.”
Derek McInnes always has a tactical plan when he puts his side out to play Celtic. In their semi-final win over the Rangers, McInnes sat deep and soaked up the pressure and was content to limit his forward play to the odd set play – and that worked out just dandy for his Dons.
Yesterday though he pressed Celtic man for man up the park, even at an Aberdeen corner with Celtic leaving Forrest and Sinclair on the centre line, Aberdeen only kept two players back rather than go for the usual three with one man being spare.
Boxer Bain, in the Celtic goal for the Betfred Cup (possibly also the Scottish Cup) is perhaps better at distributing the ball in these circumstances than Craig Gordon and while Aberdeen frustrated they seldom threatened.
“We can’t always play our normal game, and it’s up to us to adapt against whoever we’re playing,” Lustig noted.
“Aberdeen don’t always play out from the back, they often launch it straight up to their big strikers, so it’s really hard for us to win the first press.
“The fact that we can win a cup final and still feel we might have scored more goals absolutely speaks to the quality of the team and standards we set ourselves.
“We know that we’re always capable of creating chances, which is a great thing. We’re delighted with a clean sheet today, and a trophy at this point in the season.”
Also on The Celtic Star…
Treble Treble? For now the Celtic focus is on winning 3 points at Fir Park…See HERE.
UEFA Executive Committee approves new club competition…See HERE.
“I got a bit emotional myself,” Ryan on his mum’s tears of joy…See HERE.
Jim Craig – Beating Airdrie, happy birthday Tosh McKinlay…See HERE.
‘What an atmosphere as Celtic take the first step to a Treble Treble,’ David Potter…See HERE.
Special, special times to be a Celtic supporter, enjoy every minute of it…See HERE.