It was the second comfortable Old Firm victory at Hampden for Celtic in four days as their u20s side dismantled Rangers with a masterful display in a 3-0 win. Captain Sam Wardrop opened the scoring in the 37th minute before Calvin Miller doubled their lead moments before the break. Flying fullback Aidan McIlduff made sure of Celtic’s 15th win in the competition with their third. They had plenty of chances to add to their lead while Rangers were left chasing shadows.
Celtic came close to opening the scoring three times in the opening ten minutes. Aidan Nesbitt’s cutback was inches away from Calvin Miller who would surely have scored had he made any contact on the slide, while Nesbitt himself was similarly close with a header that went just by.
Rangers were under siege and Robby McCrorie had to be smart to keep out an Anthony Ralston cross that almost snuck in at the near post. A yellow card for a reckless Aidan Wilson challenge was as close as Rangers could come to stamping any authority on the game.
While Rangers eventually settled and managed to halt Celtic’s procession of chances, they were struggling to get the ball forward to mount any attacks of their own. The midfield was being bypassed in favour of long balls which left creative talent like Billy Gilmour as virtual bystanders and they failed to get Zak Rudden or Serge Atakayi to cut in from the wings in support of Dallas. It took until almost half an hour for Rangers to register a shot at goal, a wild effort from Atakayi.
Atakayi did show just what he is capable of moments later, latching on to a Jamie Barjonas ball over the top and forcing a Celtic defender into a last ditch clearance as his cross swung through the danger zone.
But it was a false dawn for Rangers.
Just when it looked like the half was in danger of failing to live up to the opening ten minutes, Celtic took a deserved lead. After winning a corner at the back post and putting a dangerous ball back across goal which no one got on the end of, Celtic captain Sam Wardrop must have thought his chances of helping his side score had faded. But the ball came back in and this time Wardrop took it down in the box himself and drove a low effort into the back of the net through a crowd of players.
Then, in the last piece of action before the half time whistle, they made it two. Rangers captain Ross McCrorie badly misjudged a long ball, only serving to head it perfectly into the path of Calvin Miller who took it round the other McCrorie and made it 2-0.