CELTIC are favourites to beat Inverness Caley Thistle in tomorrow’s Hampden semi-final, but Ronny Deila will do well to remember three Cup shockers suffered by his predecessor Neil Lennon over the past two seasons.
Here is the horror hat-trick to make sure Ronny Deila’s men not to take anything from granted and to keep their eye on the ball against the Highlanders.
January 27, 2013; League Cup semi-final
CELTIC 2 ST MIRREN 3
CHARLIE MULGREW had a nightmare as the Paisley side not only overcame Celtic, but scored their first goals against them in NINE games.
Mulgrew missed with a tame penalty-kick that would have put the Hoops 2-1 ahead and then contrived to give away a spot-kick when he practically caught a right wing cross from Gary Teale. Paul McGowan scored the second goal with ease as Lukasz Zaluska went the wrong way.
Neil Lennon’s men were given an early warning when debutant Esmael Goncalves opened the scoring in the eighth minute, but Gary Hooper, who had earlier hit the bar, levelled just before the interval. Then came Mulgrew’s double spot-kick misery and Steven Thompson got what proved to be the winner with a low shot Zaluska should have saved.
Mulgrew pulled one back with practically the last kick of the ball. The Saints went on to beat Hearts by the same scoreline in the Final.
TEAM: Zaluska; Matthews, Wilson, Mulgrew, Izaguirre; Brown, Ledley, Wanyama (sub: Lustig); Lassad (sub: Commons), Hooper, Samaras (sub: Stokes).
September 24, 2014: League Cup Third Round
A SENSATIONAL flop by the Hoops against the rock-bottom Championship side that was eventually relegated to the third tier of the Scottish League and manager Allan Moore would be sacked only months after one of the most remarkable results in the club’s history.
Celtic were odds-on to hammer the struggling Cappielow side, but it was an evening to forget for the Parkhead side playing the tie on their own ground.
Complacency seemed to dominate the Hoops’ play and the tie went into extra-time after a goalless 90 minutes. Seven minutes into the additional time, Efe Ambrose handled the ball while slipping on the ground and the visitors were awarded a penalty-kick. Dougie Imrie sent Lukasz Zaluska the wrong way to give Morton their first win at Parkhead since 1971.
With only seconds remaining, Charlie Mulgrew hit the left-hand post and the visitors staked their place in the quarter-finals where they were beaten 1-0 by St Johnstone in Greenock.
TEAM: Zaluska; Lustig, Ambrose, Van Dijk, Mulgrew; Bitton, Brown, Rogic, Boerrigter (sub: Commons); McGeouch (sub: Matthews); Pukki (sub: Stokes).
February 8, 2015; Scottish Cup Third Round
CELTIC 1 ABERDEEN 2
Having suffered the ignominy of exiting the League Cup at home, Celtic hoped lightning wouldn’t strike twice against Derek McInnes’ dangerous Dons outfit.
Anthony Stokes prodded the Hoops ahead in only the ninth minute and the fans sat back and waited for a deluge. It never materialised as the Pittodrie outfit retaliated in rousing style.
Central defender Russell Anderson blasted past Fraser Forster for the equaliser seven minutes before the interval as he followed up a corner-kick. It was the first goal the Celtic keeper had conceded in 13 domestic matches.
Only five minutes of the second-half had gone when ex-Celtic favourite Barry Robson picked out Peter Pawlett in the box and he angled a drive low past Forster. Celtic threw caution to the wind as they searched for an equaliser, but it was the visitors who came the closest when Pawlett slammed a drive against the upright. Neil Lennon’s team were left embarrassed again.
TEAM: Forster; Matthews, Ambrose, Van Dijk, Izaguirre; Forrest, Brown, Johansen, Commons (sub: Boerrigter); Stokes (sub: Balde), Samaras.
Be careful Celtic, take tomorrow very seriously and get us to the Scottish Cup Final.