Celtic 1-0 Rangers: Adam Idah scores late winner in cagey Scottish Cup final

Idah pounced on a mistake from Jack Butland (REUTERS)
Idah pounced on a mistake from Jack Butland (REUTERS)

Adam Idah scored a late winner for Celtic in a dramatic Scottish Cup final with Rangers.

Gers striker Cyriel Dessers missed a couple of chances in a goalless first half before replacement Abdallah Sima had the ball in the net in the 59th minute, only for referee Nick Walsh to rule it out for a foul on Hoops keeper Joe Hart.

The Light Blues, energised by pacey substitutes, looked the more likely to get the breakthrough but when Ibrox keeper Jack Butland spilled a long-distance drive, substitute Idah, on loan from Norwich, swooped to knock in the winner.

Celtic won their third successive cinch Premiership title last week with the help of 10 points from 12 against their city rivals and while this was the first time Rangers had been the better side over 90 minutes, the Parkhead outfit still found a way to win and increase Brendan Rodgers' remarkable record against Rangers - just one defeat in 18 Old Firm games in his two spells as Celtic boss, leaving Philippe Clement to ponder on how he changes things next season.

A peculiar build-up to the season finale saw Rodgers confirm his squad were in good condition and at full strength.

By contrast, injury-hit Clement admitted that he would have to wait until the day before the game to see which of his several doubtful players declared themselves fit and how many minutes they could offer.

Gers fans were pleased and relieved to see defender Leon Balogun and Ridvan Yilmaz back in the side while midfielder John Lundstram - suspended for two games after being sent off at Celtic Park earlier in the month - returned but only to the bench.

A 50-50 split in supporters for the first time this season added noise and colour as the match began in typically frenetic style.

Rangers saw a second-half goal ruled out by VAR (Action Images via Reuters)
Rangers saw a second-half goal ruled out by VAR (Action Images via Reuters)

Gers midfielder Todd Cantwell set up Dessers in the 15th minute only for the striker to drag his shot harmlessly wide before a Fabio Silva drive was easily saved by Hart.

At the other end, a goal-bound strike from Parkhead midfielder Reo Hatate was cleared by the head of Gers defender Ben Davies before Dessers mis-kicked a cross from Cantwell inside the Celtic penalty area to bring more groans of frustration from the Ibrox fans.

The game continued to speed from end to end.

A diving header from Celtic attacker Kyogo Furuhashi inside the Rangers penalty area appeared to hit the hands of Davies but referee Walsh ignored penalty claims, as did the VAR.

In the 25th minute Dessers was again handed a chance by Cantwell but his shot was blocked by one of three retreating Celtic defenders for another corner, which came to nothing.

Walsh also ignored penalty claims when Dujon Sterling went down at the edge of the box when he was challenged by Liam Scales, although the Light Blues player may have been just outside.

The pacier Sima replaced Dessers for the start of the second half and he made a quick contribution when he knocked in a James Tavernier corner at the back post.

However, after the VAR intervention, referee Walsh cancelled the goal for a Nico Raskin foul on Hart.

Idah immediately replaced Furuhashi then James Forrest was withdrawn for Nicolas Kuhn, while Rabbi Matondo and Scott Wright replaced Silva and Cantwell for the final 20 minutes and the injection of pace - increased when Ross McCausland took over from Sterling - began to trouble Celtic.

Sima ended a swift move by trundling a shot at Hart - playing his last game before retirement.

The final stages were racked with tension and then Celtic success.

When Wright lost possession in midfield, Celtic drove forward with Paulo Bernardo trying his luck from distance and when Butland failed to hold, Idah was quickly in to despatch the ball into the net and deliver a knockout blow to the Govan men, with eight added minutes still not allowing them to recover.