CHARLIE NICHOLAS reckons Celtic’s Scottish Cup semi-final exit was the “poorest and most tired display” he has seen for his old club this season.

The Hoops certainly lost their customary sparkle at Hampden and delivered a slipshod performance that saw them topple to a 2-1 extra-time defeat against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side.

Callum McGregor tried manfully to inspire his troops, but it was an afternoon where his team-mates didn’t respond and the side didn’t function in their usual impressive rhythmic fashion. Too many passes went astray, too many 50/50 challenges were lost and the normal cohesion was absent.

Ange Postecoglou put on six substitutes during the course of the two hours, but it wasn’t enough to inspire the Parkhead outfit even though they took the lead through Greg Taylor in the 64th minute only to be pegged back with 12 minutes to go.

An own goal six minutes from the end by the unfortunate Carl Starfelt sealed Celtic’s fate although there is some doubt about the validity of the winner, as CQN flagged up earlier today.

Former Hoops fans’ favourite Nicholas, speaking to the Daily Express, said: “Giovanni van Bronckhorst had pinpointed Tom Rogic since he was the player who hurt his side most in the league derby at Ibrox a fortnight ago with the pockets of space he floats into.

“Van Bronckhorst was bold and instructed defender Calvin Bassey to press Rogic and that helped Rangers upset their rivals’ rhythm.

“Yes, Celtic missed a golden chance to go 2-0 up through Cameron Carter-Vickers, but, overall, that is the poorest and most tired display I have seen from Ange Postecoglou’s side this season.

“They offered nothing up the right flank and they missed Giorgos Giakoumakis in attack big time.

“I am not having a go at Postecoglou, but his side are just trying to get over the line now in the title race.”

Postecoglou will take his players to Dingwall on Sunday for the 2.15pm kick-off against Malky Mackay’s Ross County side and the visitors can expect to battle for anything they get.

That fact was underlined back in December when it took a headed goal from Anthony Ralston deep in stoppage time to give the Hoops a 2-1 victory.

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