CELTIC will face Aberdeen in the Betfred League Cup Final at Hampden on Sunday, December 2 after a day of high drama.
The holders thrashed Hearts 3-0 at Murrayfield in the early kick-off before the Dons took on Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit in the second semi-final at the national stadium.
A 78th-minute effort from Lewis Ferguson – whose uncle Barry is a former Sevco skipper – won the game for the Pittodrie outfit when he connected with a left-wing corner-kick to bullet a header high into the net for the only goal.
Ironically, it now sets up a showdown with Derek McInnes’ outfit as a repeat of Brendan Rodgers’ first silverware success at the club when they beat the Dons 3-0 two years ago.
Earlier in the day, the Hoops, looking for their third successive victory in the tournament Final, dismissed the challenge of Craig Levein’s Tynecastle outfit.
Afterwards, a joyous Rodgers, who has now led the team to five Cup Finals on the bounce, hailed Ryan Christie’s “sensational” performance after the midfielder came on as a second-half substitute for the injured Olivier Ntcham.
The Parkhead gaffer said: “Scott Sinclair was excellent when he came into the game, from that point on we started to go forward more. Ryan Christie was sensational, really – his intensity, quality, pressing, everything.
“The penalty, Craig might think it’s a bit soft but Willie (Collum) is in a great position. From that point on, we were absolutely brilliant.”
Asked if he’d like to keep Christie long-term, Rodgers replied: “Absolutely, he’s a fantastic player.
“It’s all step-by-step, but he’s now 23, he’s at a good age to come in and has the personality to play for a big club. He can make a valuable contribution for us.”
The Irishman added: “We lack some characteristics in Europe that could help us, but no matter the result, we recover well.
“It’s understanding why you want to do it and the purpose for us was to reach another Cup Final.
“We knew it was going to be tough, but when we bring our game we can be a threat to any team.”