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‘WHY WE SHOULD BE THANKFUL FOR HAMPDEN LOSS’

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FORMER Celtic skipper Tom Boyd believes Sevco Rangers did Celtic a favour when they won the penalty-kick shoot-out in the Scottish Cup semi-final two years ago.

The game ended 2-2 after extra-time, but, remarkably, Callum McGregor, Scott Brown and Tom Rogic all missed from the spot to send the Ibrox side through to the Final where, of course, they lost 3-2 to Hibs.

But the failure against a team who had played the previous four years outside the top flight ultimately brought about a change of manager with Brendan Rodgers replacing Ronny Deila a month later.

The Irishman led the Invincibles to a fabulous domestic clean sweep in his first season, has already claimed the League Cup in this campaign, is three points away from the Hoops’ seventh successive Premiership title and 90 minutes from next month’s grand finale at Hampden as he prepares for Sunday’s semi-final against the Ibrox outfit.

Boyd said: “We can thank that game for it happening. It might not have happened had the result gone the other way that day.

“There’s always a ray of sunshine when you’re depressed. It didn’t feel like it at the time, but the light at the end of the tunnel was always Brendan Rodgers arriving.

“He made the immediate impact that everyone dreamed of. There’s been an extraordinary level of consistency since he arrived.

“Celtic have still only lost two games domestically under Brendan over two seasons and that’s a stunning level of consistency.

“It’s an incredible amount of professionalism from Brendan and his backroom staff that Celtic are managing to maintain those levels.”

Boyd also reckoned his former side inflicted a deep psychological wound on Graeme Murty’s men by winning 3-2 at Ibrox last month – despite being a man down for 30 minutes.

But the ex-international defender stressed Rodgers’ team will take nothing for granted. He added: “As Scott Brown said, these Celtic players do their talking on the park. You know what Broony’s like.

“Other players can talk the talk, but he does his talking on the park and he produced a real captain’s performance in the last win at Ibrox.

“He’s been fantastic under Brendan. People talk about Kieran Tierney’s consistency but Broony is right up there.

“He’s really flourishing under the coaching set-up, he’s clearly enjoying his football and probably playing the best football of his career.

“They go out and set a level and now in the run-in I think you will see Celtic getting stronger.

“I’d hope the recent league defeat at Ibrox had an effect on Rangers. I don’t think they’ll be as cocky. They won’t be cheering the prospect of facing Celtic like they were when the draw was made.”

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