Ange Postecoglou looks on as Celtic bag another trophy with Josh Clarke the hero of the night

Josh Clarke was the hero of the night, saving FOUR penalties as Celtic claimed the Glasgow Cup in dramatic fashion at Ibrox.  After throwing away a 3-goal lead, it was left to the young Northern Irish stopper to step up and save the day as the young Celts brought another trophy back to Celtic Park.

Celtic started the game brightly with Brooks, Vata, and Summers all looking lively in the opening exchanges.  With Ange Postecoglou watching on from the stands the young Hoops were out to make a positive impression on the manager.

Three and easy

Adam Brooks opened the scoring for Celtic midway through the first half, neatly finishing a Matthew Anderson cutback.  The defender had done well to win the ball inside the Rangers penalty area before laying it off for Brooks to score.

On 32 minutes Brooks doubled his account for the day and Celtic’s lead, thumping an effort in off the underside of the bar after good work from Vata on the right.  By this point Celtic had settled into a rhythm and were controlling the game, playing some excellent football along the way.

It didn’t take long before Vata, who was impressive all evening until going off with a slight knock late on, got in on the scoring.  The Irish youth international finishing off a counter-attack to put Celtic 3-0 up before the 40-minute mark.

Seemingly coasting to another Cup success, Celtic took their eye off the ball and gifted Rangers a pathway back into the game.  Mitchell Robertson hauled Ure down in the box with Alex Lowrie converting from the spot.

The goal gave Rangers renewed impetus going into the second half and they were handed a second goal just 3 minutes into the half.  A feature of Celtic’s play was trying to build out from the back, however, on this occasion, Lovelace pounced on a short goal kick robbing Lawal before slotting past Clarke.

Hanging on

It was a horrendous goal to concede and threatened to undo all the good work of the opening 35 minutes.  Lawal struggled to regain his composure for a while after the goal as Rangers went in search of the equaliser.

Rangers were now in the ascendency, but Rocco Vata in particular was still causing problems with his direct running.  As was Tsoanelo Letsosa who was putting in a solid shift in the middle of the park and showed the ability to carry the ball, and Celtic, upfield and out of danger more than once.

As the game became stretched and players were succumbing to the effects of cramp, it looked as though Celtic had done enough to hang on and claim the win.  That was until the 88th minute when Weston grabbed a leveller to take the game to penalties.

From 3-0 up to 3-3, it would have been easy for the young Celts to cave in the shoot-out.  Instead, they showed the same mental toughness as the first team to pull themselves together and go again.

Clarke the penalty king

Four saves later from Josh Clarke and Corey Thomson had the chance to win it for Celtic.  The midfielder made no mistake sending the keeper the wrong way as he confidently dispatched his penalty.

In a classy move, captain Matthew Anderson made sure that Josh Clarke got the recognition he deserved by having the keeper lift the trophy with him.

Kevin McCluskie

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