Celtic claim Scottish Cup after shootout win over Hearts

It’s a fourth victory in-a-row in the competition after drama at Hampden Park

Celtic celebrate victory after a penalty shoot out in the Scottish Cup final against Hearts. Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Celtic celebrate victory after a penalty shoot out in the Scottish Cup final against Hearts. Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

 

Celtic 3 Hearts 3 (Celtic win 4-3 on penalties)

A switch back to season 2019-20 meant a return to the winning of trophies for Celtic. Not, though, without the kind of wobble which has triggered so much trouble for Neil Lennon during the new campaign. Having led 2-0 and 3-2 against Hearts, penalty kicks were required for Celtic to seal what is a fourth clean sweep of domestic honours in as many seasons.

Hearts, demoted to Scotland’s second tier after the coronavirus hit, were in pole position during the shootout. That Celtic’s 22-year-old goalkeeper Conor Hazard saved from Stephen Kingsley and Craig Wighton proved vital. Kristoffer Ajer slammed home the winning penalty. The scale of Celtic jubilation barely disguised their relief.

Hearts had been unable to lay a glove on Celtic during the opening half. Ryan Christie’s stunning strike from 22 yards handed Lennon’s men the lead, before Odsonne Edouard chipped a penalty beyond former Celtic keeper Craig Gordon. Christophe Berra had conceded the spot-kick by blocking a Shane Duffy header with an arm. Hearts’ main element of menace arrived from Steven Naismith, their captain, who was lucky to escape sanction for standing on Scott Brown. It took a fine Gordon save from Edouard to prevent Celtic from sailing three ahead at the interval.

Having removed the handbrake during the interval, Hearts were revived. Liam Boyce headed home Andy Halliday’s cross to at least end thoughts of a procession. The Edinburgh side went one step further, restoring parity as goalline technology correctly judged Kingsley’s header had crossed the line.

The Hearts substitute Josh Ginnelly should have won the cup in the early seconds of stoppage time but instead blazed over. Leigh Griffiths looked like making him pay for that after reacting quickest to a saved Brown header at a corner to put his side 3-2 up.

Robbie Neilson’s side rose from the canvas again, Ginnelly scoring from close range with nine minutes of extra time remaining after Kingsley headed into his path. If experience favoured Gordon in the shootout, Hazard had other ideas. – Guardian

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