A late goal by Kilmarnock substitute Dieter van Tornhout was enough to overcome Celtic in the Scottish Communities League Cup Final at Hampden this afternoon. Celtic’s record in League Cup finals since 1970 has been dismal, they have reached 21 finals in that time, winning only seven, and have contrived to lose to rank outsiders, including Partick Thistle, Hibs, Dundee, Aberdeen and Raith Rovers, but few victors will have gone into the final with form as indifferent as Killie’s.
Neil Lennon changed the Celtic formula, brining Kelvin Wilson into central defence and pushing Victor Wanyama into midfield but they never managed to dictate play for a sustained period. Both teams had great chances, Kilmarnock keeper, Cammy Bell, won man of the match, while his opposite number, Fraser Forster, was Celtic’s best performer.
Gary Hooper had a miserable day but was most culpable after intercepting a risky pass by Mahamadou Sissoko across the Kilmarnock box but, unmarked, with the ball at his feet 18 yards from goal, he snatched at his shot and Bell saved.
Kilmarnock looked nervous early on but after Dean Sheils’ shot went narrowly past 20 minutes in they settled and looked the equal of the favourites.
Scott Brown crossed well from the right for Stokes to head from 13 yards but Bell was there to end the danger again. Brown then had a fine shot tipped over by Bell.
Paul Heffernan then brought the best out of Fraser Forster as the Celtic keeper kept his team level.
Sheils looked sure to put Kilmarnock ahead minutes after the break when he fought free inside the box but with the goal opening before him he seemed to panic and could not connect properly with his shot. Sissoko threatened again with a header. The warning signs were there for Celtic.
Neil Lennon realised his formation was not working and decided to hook Thomas Rogne, who was playing well, but the tactical switch allowed Ki to move into midfield while Wanyama dropped back. Ki immediately brought a degree of composure to Celtic’s play but Kilmarnock were no less threatening.
Gary Hooper was eventually subbed for Geogrios Samaras as Celtic again changed the recipe. Samaras played left and James Forrest was asked to play behind Anthony Stokes but the change didn’t have the desired effect.
With seven minutes of the game remaining Lee Johnson got behind the Celtic defence on the left to cross while van Tornout drove towards the back post where he headed into the net to give Kilmarnock the lead.
Celtic chased an equaliser and Bell made an excellent double save to deny Samaras and Kris Commons. Anthony Stokes had a last minute claim for a penalty denied and was booked for his efforts.
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