Rangers 1 Celtic 2 – Kyogo at the double again as Hoops sink Gers to win Viaplay Cup in pulsating Old Firm final

    AT Hampden it was another two Kyogoal League Cup final.

    Like his double here against Hibs last season.

    Kyogo opened the scoring at Hampden


    Kyogo opened the scoring at HampdenCredit: Willie Vass
    The Hoops talisman made it 2-0 early in the second-half


    The Hoops talisman made it 2-0 early in the second-halfCredit: Willie Vass
    Morelos got Rangers back into the game


    Morelos got Rangers back into the gameCredit: Willie Vass
    Celtic retained the trophy they won last season


    Celtic retained the trophy they won last seasonCredit: Reuters

    Celtic’s Japanese striker again grabbed the glory for Ange Postecoglou’s side.

    Rangers threatened a fightback after going 2-0 down to their Old Firm rivals.

    Alfredo Morelos gave Michael Beale and his men hope of taking the game into extra-time.

    But Celtic held firm when they had to with their Aussie manager lifting his third trophy as boss.

    Kyogo is the player who gets the supporters going after games are over.

    Here he was the man who got the team going when he had to.

    This wasn’t a vintage Old Firm final by any stretch.

    But there won’t be anyone connected with Celtic who will care one jot about that.

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    There had been nothing between the sides for the first half-hour with mistakes and unforced errors on both sides.

    Truth be told the standard of play was utterly grim.

    But as Rangers looked towards half-time, and a chance to regroup, Celtic grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.

    Kyogo had two or three glimpses of goal in quick succession before he actually hit the net in 44 minutes.

    The signs were there for Beale’s side that they had to be careful and keep a close eye on the Japanese striker or they’d live to regret it.

    They just didn’t do anything about it.

    No-one seemed to sense danger when Celtic burst down the left with Greg Taylor playing a ball across goal.

    Centre-back Ben Davies was distracted by Daizan Maeda who swiped at the ball and missed.

    But he should still have reacted quicker to the situation and done something to prevent Kyogo scoring with a tap-in.

    Beale must have been infuriated at how lacklustre his side had played in the first-half.

    Some of his stars had all talked a good game in the build-up.

    But he needed their actions to speak louder than their words.

    That’s what he would surely have been saying to his players at the interval.

    There had to be more urgency in their play.

    But almost no sooner were they back out on the back and Celtic were 2-0 ahead.

    That man Kyogo again showed his predatory instincts to get ahead of his man inside the six-yard box.

    This time it was Borna Barisic caught out.

    At 2-0, with 56 minutes on the clock, Celtic were in the box seat and looking certs to lift the trophy again and take it back home with them.

    But Rangers weren’t done yet.

    If Beale has instilled anything in this group of players since taking over from Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, it’s resilience.

    They could easily have folded.

    Celtic had become dominant and looked like adding to their lead rather than being pegged back.

    But in 63 minutes it was game on again.

    Rangers were awarded a free-kick wide on the left which was swung into the box by skipper James Tavernier.

    It was panic stations for the Celtic defence.

    And as they all stood and looked at each other, hoping someone would deal with it, Morelos pounced to prod past Joe Hart.

    Rangers were back up for it.

    They suddenly looked a different side and they had time on their side to get another goal and level the tie.

    Beale immediately looked to his bench.

    He wanted fresh legs on the park and quickly opted to take off Glen Kamara, Malik Tillman and John Lundstram and replace them with Nico Raskin, Todd Cantwell and Ryan Jack.

    The added energy looked like it could unlock Celtic again.

    But Postecoglou’s team stood firm.

    This team of his has no lack of class and creativity when it needs it. But it was their grit and desire that helped them walk up the Hampden steps.

    They were happy to hit Rangers on the break in the closing stages, substitute Sead Haksabanovic forcing a good save from Allan McGregor in the dying minutes.

    In stoppage time Matt O’Riley brought another fingertips stop from the Ibrox No1.

    After that Haksabanovic ran clean through from the halfway line and dragged a shot wide of the target.

    It was opportunities to add shine to the victory which were passed up.

    In the end Rangers had nothing left to give.

    Celtic held their nerve when they had to to see the game out and lift silverware yet again.

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    After the final whistle the Rangers players dropped to their knees as the Celtic players began their celebrations.

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