Christopher Jullien secured a backs-to-the-wall victory for 10-man Celtic over Rangers as Neil Lennon’s side made it 10 domestic trophies on the spin.
Steven Gerrard will reflect on a baffling match which saw the Ibrox side dominate, but Celtic got the job done thanks to a second half winner from Jullien as well as a sensational performance from Fraser Forster.
The Celtic goalkeeper made a number of stunning saves including one to deny Ryan Jack from range in the first half. Forster also prevented in-form Rangers striker Alfredo Morelo from finding the back of the net on a number of occasions.
A four-minute spell in the second half saw Celtic take the lead completely against the run of play when Jullien got on the end of a free kick delivery before Jeremie Frimpong was sent off moments later for felling Morelos in the box.
The Colombian who has scored 25 times this season was then thwarted from 12 yards out by the unbeatable Forster and Rangers failed to make the most of their man advantage as Celtic staggered over the line.
The Great Hampden Robbery. They will talk about this match north of border for some time. Rangers dominated this match, they should have won comfortably. This should have been a mark of their improvement under Gerrard and yet it ended up as an illustration of how far they still have to go. Questions will be asked of Morelos again. The Colombian has 25 goals for the season, but he still hasn’t scored against Celtic in 10 games against them.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Fraser Forster (Celtic): It’s just as well for Celtic that Forster is the size of an electricity pylon. Indeed, their goalkeeper made five or six stunning saves to keep Rangers out. Jullien might have scored the winning goal for the Hoops, but Forster was the one who got his team over the match. You might not see another goalkeeping performance like that this season. There was simply no way past him.
Fraser Forster of Celtic saves a penalty from Alfredo Morelos of Rangers FC during the Betfred Cup Final between Rangers FC and Celtic FC at Hampden Park on December 08, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Image credit: Getty Images
Rangers: McGregor 5, Tavernier 6, Goldson 6, Helander 6, Barisic 5, Jack 7, Arfield 5, Aribo 6, Kamara 5, Kent 5, Morelos 3. Subs - Barker 4, Defoe 5, Katic 5.
Celtic: Forster 10, Frimpong 5, Ajer 7, Jullien 8, Hayes 6, Brown 6, McGregor 6, Forrest 5, Christie 5, Elyounoussi 4, Morgan 4. Subs - Edouard 7, Johnston 6, Bitton 5.
15’ JACK... WHAT A SAVE! The Rangers midfielder thought that was heading for the back of the net! Jack caught it flush 20 yards out, but Forster pushed up a hand to make a stunning save! How did he get to that?!
23’ THROUGH FORSTER! That was close to being the opening goal! Morelos took the shot from a tight angle, there was power on it and it squirmed through Forster, but Hayes makes the clearance from under his own crossbar!
41’ HOW MANY MORE CHANCES?! That should have been the opener for Rangers! Morelos was played clean through, he got the shot away looking for the far corner, but Forster makes ANOTHER save to deny the Colombian!
53’ ACROSS GOAL! Inches away from crossing the line! It just won't go in for Rangers! Tavernier's cross to the back post finds Morelos, he stretches to get on the end of it, but his shot flashes across the face of goal!
56’ MORELOS DENIED AGAIN! This is becoming ridiculous. Morelos gets on the end of the cross into the box, his header was down and into the ground, but Forster makes the save to deny him AGAIN!
60’ GOAL! Rangers 0-1 Celtic (Jullien). Can you believe that? Rangers have had countless chances to score, but it's Celtic who have found the back of the net with their first real opportunity! The freekick delivery was a good one and Jullien gets on the end of it to slam a finish past McGregor!
62’ PENALTY KICK TO RANGERS! Frimpong pulls back Morelos after a ball bounced off Ajer and Collum points to the penalty spot!
63’ RED CARD! It's a double punishment for Celtic as Frimpong is shown a red card for hauling down Morelos. The Hoops will have to play out the rest of the match with 10 men!
64’ PENALTY SAVED! Incredible! Forster is winning this game for Celtic almost on his own! Morelos' penalty was a poor one and the Celtic goalkeeper dives to his right to make the save and keep the Colombian out!
70’ SHOULD BE TWO! What a chance for Celtic to double their advantage! Edouard held up the ball and released Johnston clean in on goal, but the youngster sent his shot wide of the far post when he should have scored!
93’ MORELOS... INCHES WIDE! Another glorious opportunity for the Colombian striker! Morelos was played in behind, he spun, he was just about onside, but he lashes his shot inches wide of the far post!
- Celtic have now won 10 domestic trophies in succession (three Scottish Premiership titles, three Scottish Cups and four Scottish League Cups).
- Celtic scored the winner with their only shot on target, while Rangers managed seven shots on target.