CELTIC 2 RAITH ROVERS 0
KRIS COMMONS took up where he left off in the League Cup Final at Hampden in March by netting the breakthrough goal against the Fifers to make sure there were no shocks at Parkhead tonight.
The midfielder was on the spot to open the scoring against Dundee United in last season’s Final. James Forrest netted a second as the Hoops won 2-0 to present Ronny Deila with his first piece of silverware as Celtic boss.
And Commons was on target in the 32nd minute in a workmanlike performance against a Raith team who tried hard throughout, gave it their all and weren’t embarrassed in the end.
Stefan Johansen added a second late in the game as the holders took another step to holding onto their trophy.
Boss Deila sent out a strong team with young Kieran Tierney getting another run at left-back and Nadir Ciftci, who scored his first goal for the club in the 6-0 win over Dundee at the weekend, leading the attack.
And the Turk almost scored in the 12th minute when Gary Mackay-Steven controlled a Commons chip on his chest and flashed a ball across goal, but it was just out of reach of the £1.3million man.
There was a scare 60 seconds later when Craig Wighton was released to run in on goal, but he was thwarted by the ever-alert Craig Gordon.
That was the signal for the eager Ciftci to have another shot at goal, but his elevation was out and his drive zipped over the crossbar.
Efe Ambrose was also off target with a long-range effort before Commons stepped in to settle the nerves and show his team-mates how it’s done.
Callum McGregor set it up with a pass to Commons on the edge of the box and, without hesitation, he walloped a low left-foot shot into the corner of the net.
The former Scotland international went close to a second three minutes before the interval when Ciftci managed to send in a low cross. However, on this occasion, the midfield maestro’s right-foot effort failed to inflict any damage.
After the break, the procession was steady towards the Raith goal. McGregor had half a chance, but his final effort lacked precision and power.
Deila then threw on substitutes Tom Rogic and James Forrest for Commons and McGregor in the 66th minute and the Hoops should have doubled their lead two minutes later.
Ciftci raced at the Fife rearguard, looked to have been fouled by Grant Anderson, but referee John McKendrick waved play on. Scott Brown got on the ball, pushed it onto Gary Mackay-Steven whose shot was deflected wide. The winger should have done better.
Raith keeper Kevin Cuthbert kept his side in it on 73 minutes. Ciftci picked up the ball after a slip by Lewis Toshney. The ball moved from him to Rogic to Mackay-Steven whose shot was well saved.With only four minutes left, Johansen ran clear from the halfway line and displayed a lot of composure before sticking the ball past the unprotected Cuthbert to seal the win and a place in the next round.
The holders will now go into Monday’s draw alongside Hibs, who beat the mighty Aberdeen 2-0, Hearts, who came back to overcome Kilmarnock 3-2, St Johnstone, who won 3-1 at Ibrox last night , Highland double-act Ross County and Inverness Caley Thistle as well as Dundee United and Morton, who knocked out Motherwell which led to tonight’s dismissal of boss Ian Barraclough.
TEAM: Gordon; Janko, Ambrose, Blackett, Tierney; Brown, Johansen; McGregor (sub: Forrest 66), Commons (sub: Rogic 66), Mackay-Steven; Ciftci (sub: Nesbitt 89)..