Celtic claimed the Scottish Youth Cup at the national stadium last night with a thumping victory over their Glasgow rivals in this battle of the under-20 teams, writes Ewing Grahame.
Having already claimed the bragging rights by winning Glasgow Cup and Scottish Cup derbies recently, Rangers would appear to be currently lagging behind at every age group.
It’s hard to imagine a Hampden showdown between these Glasgow rivals which is quieter than the average Queen’s Park home game but this encounter, played behind closed doors due to crowd trouble at previous finals, came into that category. Watched only by club officials and just under 2,000 of the players’ friends and relatives, the shouts from the participants drowned out those from the spectators.
If the atmosphere was lacking its usual acrimony, however, there was still some on the pitch and Rangers defender Aidan Wilson was cautioned after only three minutes for clattering Jack Aichison from behind.
The much younger Rangers side struggled to contain their opponents and Robby McCrorie saved well from Anthony Ralston.
Celtic made the breakthrough seven minutes from the interval. Michael Johnston backheeled the ball into the path of Calvin Miller, who crossed for Joe Thomson. The midfielder’s glancing header was off target but fell kindly for captain Sam Wardrop, who drove firmly home from 10 yards.
Sloppy defending from Robbie McCrorie, whose kick-out was poor, and Wilson, whose headed back pass was short, allowed Miller to add a second for Celtic in the 44th minute.
The goalkeeper was at fault again when he flapped at a shot from Aidan McIlduff shot, spilling what should have been a straightforward save into his net.
Liam Burt and Jamie Barjonas were both cautioned for cynical fouls on Aiden Nesbitt, the winger currently on loan to Championship promotion contenders Morton.
Ross Lyon was also shown a yellow card for bringing down Theodor Archibald as frustration took its toll.