BRENDAN RODGERS admits that not all performances from football teams can be breathtaking works of beauty.

Celtic had to call on reserves of strength, desire and mentality to eventually overcome stubborn Ibrox opposition to triumph 1-0 in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden yesterday to seal an impressive double.

Just ten days after making certain the Premiership title would be remaining at Parkhead for the third successive season with a resounding, easy-on-the-eye five-goal romp against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, it was a very different Hoops display on this occasion.

SILVER LINING…a delighted Brendan Rodgers holds the Scottish Cup after completing his comeback season with a double.

The champions looked in control of the first-half without ever unduly troubling Jack Butland, but they lost their rhythm after the turnaround and were pushed onto the backfoot by committed foes with a lot to prove.

Rodgers, as ever, made some astute substitutions to freshen his team at specific intervals and pushed on Nicolas Kuhn, Paulo Bernardo and Adam Idah for James Forrest, Reo Hatate and Kyogo Furuhashi.

The success of the changes can be highlighted by the fact two of the replacements were directly involved in the 89th-minute matchwinner.

Portuguese playmaker Bernardo evaded a lunging tackle from Nico Raskin just inside the opposition half before surging into enemy territory.

The on-loan Benfica player took aim and fired from just outside the box and his swerving effort totally flummoxed Butland who could only paw the ball into the tracks of the inrushing Idah who rammed the rebound into the inviting net.

And, at a stroke, the 150-year-old trophy was bedecked in green and white ribbons for a record 42nd time.

IRISH AYES…Adam Idah swoops to fire past Jack Butland for the Scottish Cup-winning goal.

Rodgers, who has never lost at Hampden and has now won three Scottish Cups to go with three League Cups at the national stadium, beamed afterwards and said: “It was very tense game, a real nail-biting game at 0-0.

“But the players’ mentality to come through the game and to win it just really typifies how they’ve been over the course of the season, so I’m so proud of them and it’s an amazing day for the club.

“We arrived into the game in a really good mindset, but you can’t play beautiful football in every single game and you saw that with two different styles in this one.

“But the resilience and mentality really pushes us on to keep fighting and keep working, and eventually our drive and desire to win the game shines through.

“I said to the players beforehand that when they arrive into this game, it’s not the week’s preparation leading into it, it’s all about the other 51 weeks and how you work and how you’re discipline is, how your mentality is and your professionalism.

“That all then drives through into a game like this one.

“So, for the players to have come through a very tough game and come out as winners and have a really fantastic end to the season, I’m so proud of them.”

CUP THAT CHEERS – NO MATTER WHICH WAY YOU LOOK AT IT…boss Brendan Rodgers and skipper Callum McGregor proudly hold the newly-won Scottish Cup.

Rodgers singled out matchwinner Idah, who joined the champions on a short-term loan from Norwich City in January, for special praise after the powerhouse’s ninth goal for the club.

The Hoops gaffer, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “To score a winning goal in a Scottish Cup Final, and especially coming from Ireland, it’s a fairytale really and I’m so pleased for him.

“He came in and he was not playing so much at Norwich, but I’d seen him before and I know the talent he has. I think he still has so much improvement to make, but I’m really pleased for him.

“It’s different types of goals he’s scored – great headed goals, he’s showed  pace in behind and showed composure in penalties and this one was a real striker’s goal inside the box.

“For me, he’s been the single biggest catalyst of our run-in, the importance he’s brought to the team, the reference he’s given the team. He’s shared the load with Kyogo and I’m so happy for him.”

SHAKE ON IT…Brendan Rodgers congratulates Scottish Cup goal hero Adam Idah.

Rodgers was also aware the May 25 date is an iconic one in Celtic’s glorious hall of fame, the date when Jock Stein’s men beat inter Milan 2-1 to become the first British club to conquer Europe, as CQN highlighted in our special tribute before the Cup Final.

The 51-year-old Irishman added: “I’m very conscious of the incredible history of this club, but also it’s important for the new generation of players in this era and this team to create their own history.

“We want to win and we want to win trophies consistently, so coming to Hampden you have to play well and have confidence that you can do that.

“So it’s nice to be able to finish with a double.”

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