Jelavic’s extra-time goal seals emotional Cup win for Rangers

Celtic 1 Rangers 2

To Rangers, this triumph must have felt like an act of redemption. They had to overcome the terrible self-doubt left by Celtic's recent dominance of Old Firm fixtures, then as a grim fatigue began to diminish them at Hampden, they had to reach for the last of their heart, however painful it was. In extra-time, and with his hamstrings cramping, Nikica Jelavic still found the dredges of his spirit were enough to deliver the decisive strike.



And if Walter Smith seemed a little choked by emotion afterwards, when words stuck momentarily in this throat, then maybe it was because this represented more than his last visit to the national stadium, or his 20th trophy.

He steps aside as Rangers manager at the end of the season, to be succeeded by his assistant Ally McCoist, but he frets about the state of the job he is passing on: Rangers, financially weakened and with a small squad; Celtic purposeful and growing in accomplishment.

His counterpart, Neil Lennon, had to sit in the stand, as part of a four-match ban, and every time his face appeared on the stadium's big screens, it provoked a clash of responses from the two sets of fans. His side had begun to dominate this fixture, but that shifting balance of power seemed, in the midst of the Rangers' players gleeful celebrations, to scatter like nothing more than hot air. Smith's side were deserved winners of the Co-operative Insurance Cup, and the trophy surely felt light, joyful even, in his hands when he lifted it at the end.

The winning goal was enabled by the sharp-wittedness of Vladimir Weiss, who took a quick free-kick to release the Croatian forward. He barrelled beyond Charlie Mulgrew and Emilio Izaguirre – as he had done throughout a bruising afternoon – took a touch then steered a shot past Fraser Forster, the Celtic goalkeeper. The ball bounced off the inside of the left post, ran along the line, then veered in at the last. So much gathered in that wait – expectation, anxiety – that it felt like a prolonged agony.

"None of the boys who have been here for a number of years need to prove anything," Smith said. "They have given everything and played exceptionally well. The motivation has to come from within. It was a terrific game and I thought we edged it."

Rangers took the lead when Steven Davis gathered the ball from Mulgrew's clearing header and struck a low left-foot shot that bounced off the post and in.

The game suddenly became fraught, and players on both sides motioned for their team-mates to calm down. Once some kind of order was restored, Celtic equalised; Izaguirre's deflected cross was enough to throw David Weir off balance, and from Georgios Samaras's flick-on, Joe Ledley stooped to score with a header.

Rangers seemed to be running out of strength, but extra-time acted like an extra motivation. In the second period, as Celtic chased the game, Izaguirre was sent off for body-checking Weiss, and he departed with the last of his side's hopes of recovering.

So it was left to Smith to dwell in the moment, and for Rangers to savour their reclamation of a vital, winning spirit.

Celtic (4-4-2): Forster; Wilson, Rogne (Loovens, 73), Mulgrew, Izaguirre; Brown (Ki, 65), Kayal, Ledley, Commons (McCourt, 103); Samaras, Hooper. Substitutes not used Zaluska (gk), Stokes.

Rangers (4-5-1): Alexander; Whittaker, Bougherra (Hutton, 82), Weir, Papac; Lafferty (Weiss 90), Davis, Edu, Wylde; Jelavic (Diouf, 116), Naismith. Substitutes not used McGregor (gk), Healy.

Referee C Thomson (Paisley).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine