A DELIGHTED Brendan Rodgers is looking forward to his first Cup Final after the last-gasp 1-0 Betfred League Cup semi-final win over Sevco Rangers this afternoon.
Moussa Dembele, a hat-trick hero in the 5-1 Premiership romp last month, was the matchwinner with a cheeky flick three minutes from the end of a game to set up the Parkhead men for a meeting with Aberdeen next month.
Rodgers said: “I thought we were very dominant in terms of chances and the power, quality and strength in our game.
“Sometimes you never know if the chances don’t go in or maybe you don’t get that little bit of luck that is deserving of it, that you’re always vulnerable to a counter-attack.
“However, I thought how we went about the game was brilliant.
“The players stopped them building and any time they did try to do that the pressure and intensity of the press we were able to put on them was at a real high level.
“When we had the ball we created opportunities and looked a real threat going forward.
“So, in every element of our game, it was at a high level. When you consider coming off the back of a really tough Champions League game in midweek, every single one of the players deserve a huge amount of credit for not only the performance but their strength and mentality to get the victory.”
Substitute Leigh Griffiths set up the oppotunity for Dembele to claim his 14th strike of the season – only three fewer than his total for Fulham in the previous campaign.
Rodgers added: “Leigh came in and he and Stuart Armstrong were brilliant.
“Stuart added a real thrust and energy into our game. We’ve played a lot of games this season and because of the nature of how we play the game there’s a high level of physicality needed to press and be aggressive and shorten the pitch.
“The minute that drops we need to reinvigorate the team. Stuart came on and added great power and running ability to the team.
“Leigh came on and did what he does best. He looked a real threat and was disappointed he didn’t score, but he showed his real unselfish nature by just guiding it into Moussa’s path and he had a real clever finish to give us the winning goal.
“It’s been a great start to the season for us. You see the collective mentality and spirit within the team.
“I know there are areas here I want to improve over time, but I think the players and what they are giving – they are performing magnificently well.
“They have that hunger to succeed and are playing the game at a real top level tempo both with and without the ball.
“In order to rubberstamp that you want to get trophies and in order to do that you need to get to the Final.
“We’ve got to the Final, we can put it to bed now and can concentrate on that in a number of weeks’ time, but it was a great performance deserving of getting to Hampden again.”