Rangers looked to end Celtic’s recent dominance in the Glasgow Cup as the sides went head-to-head at Firhill this evening. Both sides are challenging for the U17 title but it was Celtic who lifted the famous old trophy for the fourth consecutive year.
Celtic had much of the early going as they pinned Rangers back in their own half. Jordan Houston and Lewis Mayo both had to make important blocks to deny Celtic an early opening goal.
Euan Henderson then put his side in the lead after some slack defending by Rangers. Jack Aitchison’s shot was well saved by Brian Kinnear but the rebound wasn’t cleared well enough and, after being crossed back into the penalty area, the ball fell to Henderson who scored at the second attempt.
Billy Kirkwood’s Rangers side struggled to get anything going in the opening thirty minutes but did show a little attacking intent when Zak Rudden had a good chance to get his side back in the game. A clever free-kick from Scott Gray unmarked and the striker turned and shot at goal but Mullen saved well with his legs.
Celtic quickly responded with a fantastic opportunity when Jack Aitchison tried to curl one in at the far post but Kinnear done brilliantly to get across goal and punch clear and deny the young striker.
Jordan Houston then had a chance to level the score just before the break when he and Dapo Mebude linked well down the right. Mebude’s final ball picked out Houston on the edge of the area but he couldn’t keep his shot down and it went over Mullen’s bar.
With just a minute or so of the first half left, Matthew Shiels grabbed an equaliser for Rangers. Billy Gilmour showed some fantastic footwork to make a yard to find a pass before the ball made it’s way to Shiels, via Stephen Kelly, who composed himself before firing low beyond Mullen.
Rangers started the second period much better than the first and Matthew Shiels could have grabbed a second just before the hour mark when his shot from distance took a wicked deflection off a Celtic player, wrong-footing Mullen, but the Celtic keeper recovered well and saved to keep the scoreline level.
Zak Rudden had Mullen scrambling across goal after 62 minutes when he tried his luck from thirty yards. The young forward’s rocket looked goal-bound but Mullen pulled off a fantastic save to deny the Scotland U17 star a goal.
Celtic restored their lead after 68 minutes through Jack Aitchison when the youngster beat two Rangers defenders before coolly slotting the ball into the bottom corner, leaving Kinnear helpless.
With just five minutes left Celtic were reduced to ten when the impressive McIlroy picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Mati Zata. The Celtic midfielder had been a key player for his side and will be disappointed to have picked up a silly red card late on.
Subs: Hogarth, Zata, Hewitt, Butterworth, Patterson, Mack, McPake
Goals: Shiels 43’
Celtic: Mullen, Potter, Church, Deas, Welsh, Markku, Campbell, McInroy, Aitchison, Henderson, Caffrey
Subs: Savoury, Rae, Robertson, Kennedy, McGrath, Kerr, McKay
Goals: Henderson 18’, Aitchison 68’