CELTIC legend Davie Hay watched Ange Postecoglou’s side overcome Michael Beale’s outfit 2-1 to lift the Viaplay League Cup at Hampden last Sunday.
The former Hoops player and manager saw much to applaud in his old club’s silverware success as they took the first hurdle in the route that could lead to a glorious treble at the end of the season.
In another CQN EXCLUSIVE, Hay delivers his forthright views to Celtic book author Alex Gordon, who co-wrote the club ambassador’s best-selling autobiography, ‘The Quiet Assassin‘, which was published in 2009.
NO WAY THROUGH…Callum McGregor checks the progress of Ryan Kent.
The iconic Celt told Alex: “I liked the way Ange got his players to take a stranglehold on proceedings early on.
“Rangers had enjoyed some success at Ibrox on January 2. To be fair to them that day, they had recovered well from losing an early goal to Daizen Maeda.
“That should have settled Celtic, but, instead, it was the home side who retaliated to get back into the contest. That was down mainly to their midfield three that afternoon of Malik Tillman, John Lundstram and Glen Kamara.
“They dominated Celtic’s three of Callum McGregor, Matt O’Riley and Reo Hatate. It was no surprise when Ange made changes around the hour mark as the team continued to toil in this area.
“First to go was O’Riley as Aaron Mooy was introduced and Hatate was withdrawn afterwards with Filipe Jota coming on in his place.
HOLD ON…Aaron Mooy tussles with Malik Tillman for possession.
“Absolutely no disrespect to either of the lads who were removed, they are fine players as we all know, but it wasn’t happening for them at Ibrox that day.
“So, Beale did the expected and played his same three in his starting line-up at Hampden. He had fielded the same trio against Hearts at Tynecastle the previous month and the visitors had gone home with the points following a comfortable 4-0 win.
“Ange went with skipper Callum and Aaron and Reo who had both picked up some good form since the turn of the year.
“The Ibrox side never got a chance to get to any level of dominance they had enjoyed in Govan.
“The game was gone for them before their manager started making changes in the second-half. It was too late and the better team took the glittering prize.
“Give credit to Beale’s side. They scrapped away and put in a huge effort. I’ve got bad news for Rangers fans – I doubt if your team can play any better than this.
“I genuinely believe this was them at their optimum. And it wasn’t good enough to survive against their city rivals.
“On top of that, you just know Celtic have another level. This was not Celtic on full throttle.
“That must be a terrifying thought for everyone at Ibrox.”
* TOMORROW: Don’t miss another big EXCLUSIVE from Davie Hay – only in your champion CQN.