Celtic make light work of Motherwell to lift Scottish Cup and secure historic treble

Celtic 2-0 Motherwell: Callum McGregor fired the Hoops ahead in the 11th minute and fellow midfielder Olivier Ntcham doubled that lead after 25 minutes with a 25-yard drive

Ronnie Esplin
Saturday 19 May 2018 16:25
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Brendan Rodgers' side remained in control throughout the match against their hard-working but outclassed opponents
Brendan Rodgers' side remained in control throughout the match against their hard-working but outclassed opponents

Celtic secured an unprecedented successive domestic treble in commanding style with a 2-0 William Hill Scottish Cup final win over Motherwell at Hampden Park.

In a dominant display Callum McGregor fired the Hoops ahead in the 11th minute and fellow midfielder Olivier Ntcham doubled that lead after 25 minutes with a 25-yard drive.

Brendan Rodgers' side remained in control for the most part against their hard-working but outclassed opponents to also complete the cup double over Well, whom they beat 2-0 in the Betfred Cup final in November.

The historic victory also made it eight wins out of eight at the national stadium for Rodgers since taking over in 2016, a record which bodes well for next season when the Parkhead club will look to continue their domination of the Scottish game, currently underpinned by seven successive Ladbrokes Premiership titles.

Olivier Ntcham celebrates scoring Celtic's second goal

Motherwell's undoubted enthusiasm shone from the first whistle.

However, they had first cause to worry as early as the sixth minute when Hoops midfielder Tom Rogic, who scored the winner in last year's final against Aberdeen and who had signed a new five-year deal in midweek, fired a 20-yard shot wide of the target.

The first blow that Well suffered came soon enough.

Lanarkshire concern turned to distress when defender Tom Aldred's header from a Mikael Lustig cross was pounced on by McGregor who brought the ball under control and from 20 yards sent a right-footed shot flying past keeper Trevor Carson.

Minutes later, the Fir Park men were glad to see Parkhead striker Moussa Dembele lifted a Kieran Tierney cut-back over the bar.

Scott Brown attempts to head clear a Motherwell cross under pressure from Carl McHugh

However, the second goal was not long in arriving.

When Ntcham walked on to a Dembele lay-off outside the penalty area he drilled the ball low past Carson and into the corner of the net with the help of a slight deflection.

Celtic were matching Motherwell's renowned physicality and their quality was coming to the fore.

Stephen Robinson's side had to defend desperately as the Hoops came at them from all angles, a Rogic shot from 16 yards after another attack just too weak to trouble Carson.

Motherwell striker Curtis Main had lofted an effort over the Celtic bar and forced a good save from returning Hoops keeper Craig Gordon two minutes after the restart, to hint at a comeback.

Kristoffer Ajer is challenged by Curtis Main

Celtic retained a threat in their pacey and direct attacks and in the 70th minute, following a McGregor cross from the right, Carson made a fantastic save from Dembele powerful close-range header then saved the Frenchman's second attempt, a drive, with his foot.

Motherwell's spirit was admirable in the latter stages.

Substitute Gael Bigirimana, on for captain Carl McHugh in the 54th minute, cracked the woodwork with a free-kick from 25 yards with 10 minutes remaining.

Celtic, however, might have increased their lead with more diligence in their breaks but that was academic as the final, greeted by roars from the vast Parkhead support, confirmed the double domestic treble for the first time in Scotland.

PA

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