BRENDAN RODGERS will take his Celtic team to Hampden on Saturday for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen.

It will be the fourth time the Northern Irishman has faced the Dons at the national stadium.

And Rodgers goes into the encounter in the realisation he has won all three of the previous meetings against the Pittodrie club.

The 51-year-old Hoops chieh has nothing but wonderful memories of these fixtures after winning his first piece of silverware as Celtic gaffer in a riproaring silverware showdown six months after his appointment as Ronny Deila’s successor.

Author Alex Gordon highlighted the achievement in his tribute book ‘CELTIC: TREBLE TREBLE‘ which was published in 2019 to celebrate the club’s nine successive silverware triumphs.

In another CQN EXCLUSIVE, here is Alex’s match report on another joyous occasion at Hampden. Please enjoy!


November 27 2016


Scorers: Rogic, Forrest, Dembele (pen)

HAIL the Celtic Centurians! The Parkhead side picked up their 100th piece of major silverware in a thoroughly well-merited and professional manner at Hampden this afternoon.

Brendan Rodgers beamed brightly as he won his first trophy as Hoops manager and, hopefully, it will be the first of many.

Aberdeen came to Hampden to battle all the way in the Betfred League Cup Final, but in the end they were undone by some remarkable flashes of brilliance from Parkhead performers.

Step forward James Forrest for a massive round of applause. The little winger epitomises everything Rodgers is attempting to achieve at the champions.

TON-UP BHOYS…Back Row (left to right): Craig Gordon, Moussa Dembele, Erik Sviatchenko, Emilio Izaguirre, Jozo Simunovic and Tom Rogic. Front row: Mikael Lustig, Stuart Armstrong, Scott Brown, James Forrest and Patrick Roberts.

Under Ronny Deila, he became nothing more than a bit-part player and his career looked to be heading for the exit and elsewhere.

Against the Dons this afternoon, though, he was a player possessed, a professional driven by ambition with a compelling never-say-die attitude.

He was a nuisance all day to the Dons’ rearguard as he floated around the pitch, bursting into electrifying pace when he saw an opening and, basically, proving to be impossible to mark.

Forrest on fire is a sight to behold. He scored a magnificent second, was felled in the box for the third via the penalty spot and was in Man of the Match form.

Skipper Scott Brown, Tom Rogic, Erik Sviatchenko and Mikael Lustig also put in good shifts, but this 100th success was a team triumph – and a delight to witness.

CRASH-LANDING…James Forrest is sent flying by lunging Aberdeen defender Anthony O’Connor for a stick-on penalty-kick. Moussa Dembele netted the award for the third goal.

The breakthrough goal arrived in the 16th minute and underlined the quick-thinking of the current team as they turned defence into attack. Dons’ James Maddison drove forward and smashed a shot at goal from 25 yards which was blocked by the ever-willing Sviatchenko.

Stuart Armstrong picked up a rebound and within 22 seconds the ball was in the Aberdeen net.

The midfielder knocked the ball to Brown who pushed the pass in front of Jozo Simunovic, charging out of defence.

The Croat’s forward pass was intercepted, but he snapped onto the rebound to hit a pass to the lurking Rogic on the right.

Aberdeen were slow to react to the danger as the Wizard of Oz controlled the ball with his usual nonchalant ease.

He teased his way onto his favoured left foot and, from the edge of the box, curled a sublime low effort beyond the searching fingers of the despairing Joe Lewis.

NUMBER ONE…Tom Rogic performs a piece of wizardry to fire in a left-foot effort.
NUMBER TWO…James Forrest leaves three Dons rivals helpless after doubling Celtic’s advantage.

NUMBER THREE…Moussa Dembele makes no mistake from the spot.

The Pittodrie men couldn’t say they weren’t warned – it was the third time Rogic has scored against them in three games this season.

The second goal in the 37th minute was an individual moment of magic from the rejuvenated Forrest as he embarked on a slalom run at the back-tracking defence.

Rogic picked him out just yards into the opponents’ half and he galloped forward determinedly with one aim in mind.

Anthony O’Connor and Andy Considine were too late with their joint challenge. Forrest, head down, ball under control, was unstoppable.

He zipped into the danger area and finished his run with a searing low drive that eluded the diving Lewis to his right.

It was a goal fit to win any Cup Final and how Forrest and his team-mates enjoyed it.

DOUBLE DELIGHT…boss Brendan Rodgers and skipper Scott Brown with the newly-won League Cup.

The Dons defenders knew they had been taken apart by a special player on top of his game and more than willing to deliver on the big day.

And it was Forrest who was involved in the third goal in the 64th minute when he moved effortlessly onto a rolled pass by Rogic.

The despairing O’Connor lunged at the Celtic winger and there could only be one outcome as the player hit the deck. Referee John Beaton immediately pointed to the spot.

Moussa Dembele, who had been strangely subdued, placed the ball on mark before smashing it low to the keeper’s left as Lewis took off for his right.

Naturally, there were other efforts and smart interludes of play, but, at the end, when the haze cleared over Hampden, Celtic had won their 100th trophy in their illustrious 128-year history.

The green-and-white carnival kicked off there and then.

TEAM: Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Sviatchenko, Izaguirre; Brown, Armstrong; Roberts (sub: Bitton 65), Rogic (sub: McGregor 76), Forrest (sub: Griffiths 90); Dembele.

* TOMORROW: Don’t miss RODGERS 3 ABERDEEN 0: Part Two – only in your champion CQN.

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