Celtic run through Rangers to keep treble dream alive and kicking

All too easy for Brendan Rodgers’s side at Hampden Park as they set up Motherwell date

 Tom Rogic is mobbed by his Celtic team-mates after scoring their first goal in the Scottish cup semi-final against Rangers at  Hampden Park. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Tom Rogic is mobbed by his Celtic team-mates after scoring their first goal in the Scottish cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

 

Celtic 4 Rangers 0

There was a period when Old Firm fixtures, treacherous in nature, proved the most meaningful when en route to success. How times have changed.

Celtic’s bid to win a domestic treble for the second time in as many seasons remains alive, with this 4-0 victory over Rangers amongst the most straightforward Brendan Rodgers has enjoyed since he took office.

Rangers failed to lay a glove on the champions, a situation which will further undermine Graeme Murty’s already vain hopes of being the manager at Ibrox beyond this campaign.

That two penalties contributed to this rout is a scoring anomaly. Celtic were streets ahead of their city rivals in every department. Their reward will be a return to Hampden, for the Scottish Cup final against Motherwell in late May.

Motherwell, it seems reasonable to assume, will put up stiffer resistance than was the case here.

Moussa Dembélé, who was to thrive against a lame Rangers defence, had already struck a post by the time Celtic took the lead. Tom Rogic, whose talent is often under appreciated, used clever footwork to bemuse Ross McCrorie before producing a low finish past Wes Foderingham.

Rangers’ only hope appeared to be making half-time when only a goal behind; they were denied that scenario by Callum McGregor, who capitalised on a Russell Martin blunder as the centre back attempted to deal with a Kieran Tierney cross.

Number three arrived from the penalty spot, McCrorie’s miserable afternoon complete – and cut short – as he hauled down Dembélé. The young defender was dismissed as Dembélé brushed himself down to score. Rangers’ finest spell of the game was to follow but Craig Gordon was equal to anything thrown at him.

Celtic’s fourth, which at least triggered a scoreline reflective of the game, arrived from the penalty spot once more. Patrick Roberts, on as a substitute, was cleaned out by Jason Holt. This time Olivier Ntcham strode forward before beating Foderingham from 12 yards. Celtic could easily have scored more; they didn’t feel the need to bother. – Guardian service

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