Naismith's late header sets up Old Firm final
Monday 31 January 2011
Rangers will meet Celtic in the Co-operative Insurance Cup final after Walter Smith's side overcame Motherwell 2-1 at Ibrox yesterday, thanks to Steven Naismith's second-half header.
Maurice Edu gave cup holders Rangers the lead in the 20th minute when he weaved his way through and unleashed a left-foot strike into the top corner. Motherwell had a penalty claim waived away by the referee, Willie Collum, when David Weir's arm appeared to be wrapped round John Sutton, before their equaliser arrived. Sutton slipped the ball through to Keith Lasley, who fired home from 18 yards.
However, with 15 minutes left, Steven Davis found Nikica Jelavic with an inch-perfect cross-field ball, who then crossed for Naismith to head home Rangers' winner.
Victory for Rangers extended their unbeaten record against Motherwell to an astonishing 32 matches, so securing an Old Firm derby for the final which will take place on 20 March. The Glasgow teams will also meet next Sunday in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup.
The Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, called his team "irresistible" after they defeated Aberdeen 4-1 on Saturday to cruise into the final. Celtic went ahead through debutant Kris Commons' audacious chip after six minutes, before former Aberdeen defender Charlie Mulgrew found the net four minutes later. Thomas Rogne and a penalty from Anthony Stokes completed the rout, with Scott Vernon providing a solitary consolation goal for Aberdeen.
Commons, who moved from Derby County last week, earned high praise from his manager. "It was a great debut," said Lennon. "I'm delighted for him. His all-round play was very good, very intelligent."
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