ANGE POSTECOGLOU enjoyed his quickfire return to Hampden last night as he watched Celtic overcome their Ibrox counterparts 6-5 in a remarkable Youth Cup Final.
The Greek-Australian gaffer was fresh from guiding the Hoops through their 1-0 semi-final victory over Michael Beale’s team on Sunday to seal a place in the Scottish Cup Final at the national stadium on Saturday June 3.
Postecoglou has a 100 per record at the venue this season following League Cup successes over Kilmarnock (2-0) and the Govan club (2-1) plus the most recent win at the weekend.
The club’s Under-18 coach Stuart McLaren revealed the manager had set his squad on their way to an extraordinary success.
A BIG HAND…Celtic chairman Peter Lawwell and Ange Postecoglou applaud the youths’ 6-5 trophy success at Hampden last night.
He admitted: “There was a nice good luck message from him to the group and to myself this morning which was terrific, as well as one from all the other first-team staff and Callum McGregor.
“That was a nice touch for the boys and I think they really appreciated that. Every day is an opportunity, if it’s a day at training, miles out from a game or at a Cup Final, it’s an opportunity to try and impress him.
“It was great that he was here to see some of the quality we’ve got.”
McLaren, speaking to The Scotsman, added: “He’s obviously a busy man with a very important job and he’s certainly got his finger on the pulse. He knows, well and truly, what’s happening with each one of the players and how they’re progressing.
“We’ll keep trying to establish that pipeline and have more of our younger players progressing, and hopefully see more debuts like we’ve had this year with Ben Summers and Rocco Vata.”
HAPPY HUNTING GROUND…Ange Postecoglou is all smiles after the Scottish Cup semi-final win at Hampden at the weekend.
The spectacle at Hampden seesawed throughout the 90 minutes and into extra-time before the Hoops claimed victory in an 11-goal extravaganza.
The Ibrox youngsters went ahead in the 19th minute, but Mitchel Frame levelled six minutes later before Corey Thomson gave them the lead only moments later.
It was pulled back to 2-2 and then Daniel Kelly fired the Hoops ahead again. But it was all-square at the interval when the Ibrox kids netted just before the break.
Findlay Curtis struck again for the Govan team from the penalty spot seven minutes after the turnaround, but that was nullified when a cross was diverted into his own net by Leyton Grant.
ELEVEN-GOAL THRILLER…scoreline after epic Hampden Youth Cup Final.
THE VICTORS…Celtic’s bright youngsters celebrate a memorable Hampden triumph.
Just before the regulation 90 minutes came to an end, Zak Lovelace was red-carded after picking up two bookings to leave Celtic’s opponents a man short in extra-time.
Daniel Cummings claimed the Hoops kids’ fifth goal six minutes after the restart and Lewis Dobbie claimed what turned out to be the winner in the 112th minute.
Tyler Pasnik hit a fifth for his side in added-on time, but the trophy was heading back to Parkhead for the 16th time after a breathtaking finale at Hampden.
TEAM: Meikle (sub: Gill 46), Dede (sub: Luyeye 78), Mackenzie, Agbaire, Robertson, Ure, Hatton (sub: Dobbie 70), Kelly, Cummings (sub: Turley 108), Thomson (sub: Haddow 86), Frame (sub: Bonnar 86).