It wasn’t the 7-1 shredding that PSG inflicted on Monaco, but for the more humbler surroundings of Scottish club football, it was close enough. Brendan Rogers’s Celtic Football Club demolished Graeme Murty’s Rangers Football Club 4-0 at Hampden Park in the Scottish Cup semifinals. Rangers were forced to play down to 10 men after Ross McCrone was given his marching orders 51 minutes in.
“We played well,” said Craig Gordon. “We were really dominant, the midfield won their tackles and we kept the ball. We passed it particularly well for the first hour. The manager was probably looking for a little bit more once they went down to 10 men. We should have dominated the game a bit more but we got back into it and, after 10 or 15 minutes, we really controlled it again.
“We stuck to our game-plan. We knew what we wanted to try and do and it worked very well, especially the first half. We were really dominant and managed to move the ball really quickly. We do like coming here. It’s a big pitch and it suits our game very well. It was nice to get here. Everybody’s always really confident to come here and we played really well in the first half.”
The main men were on showcase for the boys: Socceroos Tom Rogic (22′), Callum McGregor (38′), Moussa Dembele (52′) and Olivier Ntcham (78′). Despite Celtic barely winning the possession battle (53 percent to 47 percent) and Rangers piling up the corners (seven to Celtic’s three), the designated home team were ruthless with more shots (13 to four) and more shots on target (five to two) as they queued up on Rangers goalkeeper Wes Foderingham, who was left out to dry.
“We play so many games and we’re not always going to be at our best,” Rodgers said. “But I think this season we’ve had a number of really good performances. Certainly in the big games we’ve had the edge that we look for. What the players have done these last couple of seasons is really inspire the supporters to believe that they can actually achieve sometimes the impossible. We’re focused and geared up for all our games but when you get to these games you know what’s at stake.”
— William Hill Scottish Cup (@ScottishCup) April 15, 2018
The win very much makes the Scottish Cup Celtic’s to lose. Their Scottish Cup Final opponent is Motherwell. Motherwell upset Aberdeen 3-0 on a Curtis Main brace (20, 66′), Ryan Bowman also scored in the 22nd minute. Leaguewise, Celtic enter the second phase of the home-and-away season with a record of 22-9-2 (75 points), 13 clear of Rangers, whose have a record of 19-5-9 (62 points) and are just above the Dons on goal differential.
Meanwhile, Motherwell are seventh with a record of 10-8-15 (38 points) but are in no imminent danger of relegation. Celtic have one more match with Rangers on Apr. 29 at Celtic Park. That contest could settle the question as to whether or not the Bhoys maintain their Premiership silverware. Before that, Celtic are away to Hibernian on April 21. The Scottish Cup Final is on May 19.