The triumph belonged quite defiantly to Ross County, while the result will linger in Celtic's history with a dismal melancholy. The First Division side not only secured their passage into the Scottish Cup final, they outplayed their opponents and revealed again the frailties, of spirit and mind, that have so compromised Celtic this season. Neil Lennon, the caretaker manager, looked aghast at the final whistle, but a more painful truth will settle upon him. It is the realisation that his side had no answer to Ross County's composure and poise, or the zeal that saw them grasp control of this match from the outset.
There were few chances in the first half; Lennon, an emphatic character, no doubt left his team in little doubt of their deficiencies at the break. But County resumed their ascendancy.
Steven Craig gathered Darren O'Dea's weak defensive header and set off on a run that carried him into the Celtic penalty area, where he shot firmly beyond Lukasz Zaluska. Celtic rallied briefly, and Georgios Samaras hit the post from point-blank range, but with two minutes left, Martin Scott converted Andrew Barrowman's cross to add a second.
"I am way past angry with them," Lennon said of his players. "Whether I am here or not next season, I told them that I am pretty sure some of them won't be."