The Road to the Final

Celtic will take to the field on Sunday afternoon aiming to claim a record extending 21st Scottish League Cup trophy against bitter city rivals Rangers and, in the process, lift the first piece of Silverware of the 2022/23 season.

Ange Postecoglou’s Bhoys lifted the trophy last season completing a remarkable turn around following the dismal 2020/21 season that saw Celtic fail to lift a trophy for the first time since 2009/10.

Success in Sunday’s showpiece event would see Celtic claim the first leg of a potential domestic treble and further consolidate the progress made since the Australian has come to the club.

Sunday’s opponents Rangers faced home ties against lower league opposition Queen of the South (3-1) and Dundee (1-0)  in the Round of 16 and quarter-finals, before scrapping past Aberdeen in extra-time in the semi-final as they navigated their path to Hampden.

Celtic, on the hand, were handed two away games against Cinch Premiership opponents before facing a third Premiership side at Hampden in the semi-final.

Here’s a look back on the Hoops Road to the Final…


Ross County 1 Celtic 4 (Iacovitti) – (McGregor, Giakoumakis, Maeda, Forrest)

Siegrist: Ralston, Welsh (Starfelt 56′), Jenz, Bernabei; McGregor (McCarthy 76′), Turnbull, Mooy; Maeda (Hakšabanović 76′), Giakoumakis, Abada (Forrest 56′)

Celtic’s defence of the League Cup began in August with a midweek away trip to Dingwall with the  game coming just three days after the Celts handed out a 9-0 thumping to Dundee United in the league.

Ange opted to rotate the side for this game changing the entire backline and handing a first start to Aaron Mooy whose calming influence in the middle of the park was highlighted by Laura Bradburn during the half time pod.

Skipper Callum McGregor opened Celtic’s account on the night turning home a near post corner from David Turnbull before Giakoumakis doubled the Hoops lead before the break with a well taken shot from the edge of the box.

Alex Iacovitti briefly pulled the home side back into the game in the second half, capitalising on some slack defending to turn home a cross from the left before goals from Maeda and Forrest finished the job in style.


Motherwell 0 Celtic 4 (Abada (2), Hatate, Kyogo)

Siegrist; Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Jenz, Taylor; O’Riley (Abildgaard 61′), Mooy (McCarthy 72′), Hatate (Maeda 72′); Kyogo, Abada, Hakšabanović (Giakoumakis 80′)

The luck of the draw saw Celtic face another away tie against Premiership opposition in the quarter-finals with a trip to Fir Park and Motherwell.

Despite dominating and creating a number of clear chances, Celtic had to wait to until the 44th minute before breaking the deadlock when Liel Abada turned home a Greg Taylor cut back.

Paul and Lawrence bemoaned Celtic’s lack of cutting edge during the half time show and also highlighted some lapses in concentration defensively that had given Motherwell some hope.

The second half saw Celtic continue to dominate create openings.  It took just 10 minutes for Abada to double his and Celtic’s tally for the evening before Reo Hatate added a third in style, showing great composure to roll the ball away from Kelly with his right before finishing with the left.

Kyogo rounded off the scoring with 15 minutes to go passing into an empty net after Abada’s effort rebounded out off the post.


Kilmarnock 0 Celtic 2 (Maeda, Giakoumakis)

Hart, Starfelt, Bernabei, Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, McGregor, Mooy (Turnbull 93′), Hatate (O’Riley 74′), Jota (Abada 73′), Kyogo (Giakoumakis 74′), Maeda (Forrest 81′)

Celtic booked their place in the final with a 2-0 victory over Kilmarnock at a rain soaked Hampden Park.  Goals from Daizen Maeda and a farewell strike from Giorgos Giakoumakis in stoppage time sealed Celtic’s place in their 7th League Cup final in the last ten years.

After a tense start, Maeda put the Celts in front deflecting an attempted clearance from Kyle Lafferty past Walker in the Kilmarnock goal.

Chances were few and far between for the remainder of the half, however there was no shortage of chances at either end in the second period.

Celtic had goals ruled out for offside, the second seeing Maeda cruelly robbed of a wonder second goal by the narrowest of calls against Kyogo.

In the final minute of stoppage time Giakoumakis signed off his Celtic career in trademark fashion, tapping home a close range rebound to seal the win another visit back to Hampden Park for the Bhoys in Green and White.

As Sean Connelly commented at the end of the game, we may not have been at our best, but we had the quality to see us through.


Celtic – Rangers

That story remains to be written as Ange Postecoglou defends his maiden title in Scottish football.  Who will be the hero of the hour?

We’ll find out on Sunday afternoon.



Leave a Reply