CELTIC 1 RANGERS 2 (After extra-time)

CELTIC stumbled out of the Scottish Cup in extra-time to blow the dream a domestic treble in Ange Postecoglou’s first season.

It was a bewilderingly lacklustre performance that was settled with an unfortunate own goal from Carl Starfelt in extra-time against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team at Hampden this afternoon.

There was the usual barrage of puzzling decisions from referee Bobby Madden, but this was a day where the Celtic we have seen over the past 33 domestic games just didn’t turn up.

Too many times they gave away possession, too many times they lost out of 50/50 challenges and too many times their final decision was lamentable.

Their opponents were up for the contest and there were a few in green and white jerseys who did not respond in kind.

CRASH…Callum McGregor is sent flying by a wayward challenge from John Lundstram who escapes a booking – again.

They weren’t helped by the fact the fact the match official point-blank refused to show a card of any colour to John Lundstram who crashed into tackles all over the place without even a finger-wagging warning from Madden.

Likewise Calvin Bassey was allowed to practically wear the same shirt as Tom Rogic until the Aussie was replaced. The Ibrox players were given the licence to kick and they gratefully accepted the opportunity.

A deflected shot from Greg Taylor handed the Hoops the advantage in the 64th minute, but a hesitant team weren’t good enough to hold onto the lead.

The breakthrough strike came after Kemar Roofe tangled with Cameron Carter-Vickers on the right. A free-kick was awarded and substitute Matt O’Riley slipped the ball inside to skipper Callum McGregor, one of the rare Celts to get passmarks, and he picked out the full-back on the edge of the penalty box.

Taylor, with only one previous goal in his Hoops career, switched the ball onto his left foot to drive in a low effort that took a touch off Bassey’s boot on its way past Jon McLaughlin.

BANG…Callum McGregor is wrestled to the ground by Joe Aribo.

The game was there for Celtic to win, but, unusually under the reign of Ange Postecoglou, they did not apply the killer touch.

Five minutes after the goal, Carter-Vickers had the ideal opportunity to kill the contest when a ricochet from a Filipe Jota right-wing corner-kick dropped to his feet via substitute Kyogo Furuhashi.

Unfortunately, the matchwinner at Ibrox a fortnight ago hurried his shot and clattered his effort off the face of the crossbar.

In the 78th minute, Celtic were made to pay when the Ibrox side equalised. Daizen Maeda, who had a disappointing afternoon among so many others, switched off when Connor Goldson launched a long ball down the right.

James Tavernier was given time to bring the pass under control before sending a low cross into the box. Roofe’s first touch wasn’t good, but the ball rolled to Scott Arfield who snapped up the chance to curl an effort wide of the helpless Joe Hart.

Before the hour mark, Postecoglou had already substituted the inefectual Rogic and the injured Liel Abada with O’Riley and Kyogo, who, alas, rarely figured and looked well short of match fitness, as you might expect.

WALLOP…Tom Rogic winces in pain as Calvin Bassey comes through from behind.

The manager was forced into another substitution when Josip Juranovic limped off and Anthony Ralston was introduced. He didn’t look comfortable up against Ryan Kent and the Greek-Australian gaffer moved him to the left in extra-time to bring on Stephen Welsh for Greg Taylor. The switches did not help the Hoops’ cause.

Welsh was well off the pace and the winning goal came from a left-wing break when Kent played in Bassey in the 114th minute.

He thumped an effort across the face of goal and unfortunately Starfelt, who otherwise had a sound game, got in front of Fashion Sakala to get the last touch to send the ball spinning beyond the exposed Hart.

It was that sort of afternoon. Celtic just did not make it happen for themselves and too many players were on different wavelengths.

The Hoops were disappointing in the first-half as they found difficulty to impose themselves on the game.

HOOP HOOP HOORAY…Greg Taylor celebrates his strike for Celtic.

Instead, they were under pressure every time the ball was in the vicinity and their opponents snapped into challenges with a relish.

Possibly without too much enthusiasm with Joe Aribo and Ryan Jack both booked while Lundstram can count himself lucky for not joining them after a few wayward tackles.

Callum McGregor was also yellow-carded by Madden for a phantom touch on Kent the referee deemed as a trip.

It was a disjointed 45 minutes with the team missing the focal point of Giorgos Giakoumakis at the heart of the attack. His towering presence was absent and it forced a change of thinking going forward.

Rogic was having a frustrating opening 45 minutes with Bassey never far from his side. The Aussie playmaker didn’t welcome the attention of the rugged opponent who was quick to get on top of him at every opportunity.

The nearest to a goal came in the 41st minute when Lundstram rattled the post from 25 yards after being left totally unmarked following a cutback from Aribo.

LEVELLER…Scott Arfield curls the ball past the helpless Joe Hart.

DISASTER. ..Carl Starefelt hits the ground after sending the winning goal past Joe Hart.

The Ibrox midfielder had the freedom of Hampden as he dragged the ball to his left foot and whipped in a curling effort that zipped beyond the right hand of Hart, but smacked against the woodwork and Carter-Vickers had to react quickly to make sure Aaron Ramsey did not pounce on the rebound.

The on-loan Juventus player went off moments later holding his thigh to be replaced by Scott Wright.

Celtic had their moments without putting too much pressure on Jon McLaughlin, starting the game instead of Allan McGregor.

In the sixth minute, Filipe Jota should have done better after Juranovic pitched over a right-wing cross to the back post. The Portuguese winger headed over the bar when he should have at least hit the target.

Within a minute, Jota was sent clear following a brilliant ball from Hart, but once again his precision was off and the ball soared high and aimlessly over the bar.

It didn’t get much worse as the game wore on throughout the second-half, despite Taylor’s rare goal and the switch-off to allow the leveller.

Extra-time is better forgotten. A few players may want to have a good look at themselves.

Looks like Celtic will just have to put up with their tenth title in 11 years.

Plus a League Cup, too, of course.

TEAM: Hart; Juranovic (sub: Ralston 67), Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor (sub: Welsh 91); Rogic (sub: O’Riley 57), McGregor, Hatate (sub: Turnbull 109); Abada (sub: Kyogo 57), Maeda (sub: Forrest 91), Jota.

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