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Celtic see off Rangers to clinch fourth successive City of Glasgow Cup

Rangers FC 1

Shiels 44

Celtic FC 2

Henderson 17, Aitchison 68
  • Thursday, 20 April 2017
  • Firrhill Stadium
  • Under 17´s
  • City of Glasgow Cup - Final
Jack Aitchison was the Glasgow Cup hero, hitting a second half winner to seal Celtic’s fourth successive victory and lift the history filled trophy. Ewan Henderson had given the Hoops an early lead, but Matthew Shiels had levelled on the stroke of half time, before Aitchison popped up with the deciding goal at Firrhill Stadium.
Since the Glasgow Cup, established in 1888, returned from an early noughties break in 2008 as an U17 competition, one fixture has dominated above all others. For the tenth year in succession, Rangers and Celtic saw off all comers, to make it an Old Firm final.

Celtic had enjoyed the better of recent encounters, winning the last three, without conceding a goal. However, it was Rangers who topped the group section and stunned their cup final rivals with a 6-1 victory at Lennoxtown Training Centre in February. On that evening hat-tricks for Owen McGinty and Matt Yates settled the tie, but with a glance at cup final team-sheet it was evident that neither they nor any of the players from two months back were to be involved. That match was presumably used as an outing for younger players within the clubs’ academy setups, given both teams had already qualified for the final. Neither side dropped a single point in eight matches against other competing teams, Queens Park and Partick Thistle.

The teams lined up on a mild night in Maryhill, with plenty of familiar faces from the national youth ranks on show. Many of the players on both sides were part of Scotland’s 2016 Victory Shield squad and no less than eight had just been named in Scot Gemmill’s squad for Euro 2017. Zak Rudden, Jordan Houston and Lewis Mayo of Rangers; Daniel Church, Jack Aitchison, Kerr McInroy, Stephen Welsh and Robbie Deas of Celtic.

The match kicked off at a high tempo, with both sides keen to assert their authority in the opening exchanges. The first chance fell to Celtic, with Jack Aitchison making an early impact and setting up Ewan Henderson, who saw his effort excellently blocked by Jordan Houston.

Celtic were beginning to move into the ascendency and only an excellent save from Gers goalkeeper Brian Kinnear denied Patrick Campbell the opening goal. However, the deadlock was not far away from being broken. Again it was Aitchison’s creative influence that created the opening and after his initial shot was saved by Kinnear, Henderson was on hand to knock home the rebound.

Rangers took a while to find their feet but after stemming the early tide, midway through the half they went close. Zak Rudden produced a sharp turn and shot, but Ryan Mullen was equal to it, saving with his legs.

The Hoops continued to probe, but in the closing stages of the half it was Rangers who came on strong. With a few minutes remaining until the interval recent Scotland debutant Dapo Mebude cut the ball back to Houston, but the Gers captain couldn’t find the target. Two minutes later, the equalising goal came. Billy Gilmour showed a glimpse of why he has wonderkid status, before picking out Stephen Kelly, who in turn found Matthew Shiels. The Gers forward made no mistake, drilling the ball into the bottom right hand corner from the edge of the box to ensure the sides went into the break level.
  • Half Time:
  • Rangers FC
  • 1-1
  • Celtic FC
Picking up from where they left off, Rangers started the second half brightly. Rudden was a whisker away from breaking through the Celtic defence, but for a last ditch tackle by Robbie Deas. Gilmour whipped in a dangerous set piece minutes later but to be denied by Mullen and Shiels’ 25-yard deflected shot arrived at the same outcome.

As the minutes ticked by, Celtic eased their way back into the half, without looking overly dangerous. A Campbell shot over the bar just after the hour mark was their first opening of note. However, with Aitchison in their ranks, the Celtics could never be written off and so it proved. A well worked move down the left saw the Scotland youth international spring back to his feet after being upended, drive towards the box and unleash a shot into the bottom left hand corner.

Rangers brought on three quickfire substitutions as they chased the game. Matti Zata, Zac Butterworth and Michael Hewitt entered the fray as Billy Kirkwood played all of his cards in search of a second equaliser. With just under five minutes to go, the Blues were given a ray of hope. Celtic’s Kerr McInroy picked up his second booking of the evening, meaning the Hoops were a man light for the closing stages.

The last few minutes saw Gers throw everything but the kitchen sink at their opponents. Several set piece opportunities fell the way of Gilmour and the last of which saw Zata head agonisingly over the crossbar.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Celtic held their nerve and saw out the remaining minutes. The final whistle blew and the green half of Glasgow celebrated a hard earned victory, before lifting the famous Glasgow Cup Trophy. 
  • Full Time:
  • Rangers FC
  • 1-2
  • Celtic FC


Rangers FC
Celtic FC
1. Brian Kinnear
2. Jordan Houston
3. Scott Gray
4. Cameron Palmer
5. Daniel Finlayson
6. Lewis Mayo
7. Dapo Mebude
8. Billy Gilmour
9. Zak Rudden
10. Stephen Kelly
11. Matthew Shiels
12. Matti Zata
14. Michael Hewitt
15. Zac Butterworth
16. Nathan Patterson
17. Jay Mack
18. Josh McPake
21. Nicky Hogarth
1. Ryan Mullen
2. Max Potter
3. Daniel Church
4. Robbie Deas
5. Stephen Welsh
6. Kristi Marku
7. Keiran Campbell
8. Kerr McInroy
9. Jack Aitchison
10. Ewan Henderson
11. Thomas Caffrey
12. Grant Savoury
14. Scott Robertson
15. Paul Kennedy
16. Kieran McGrath
17. Andrew Kerr
18. David McKay
Star Player
Rangers FC
Celtic FC
Zak Rudden was Rangers' top performer, showing his class on a number of occasions.
Aitchison was central to Celtic's attacking threat through the evening.
Magic Moment
Rangers FC
Celtic FC
Shiels' goal on the stroke of half-time gave Rangers a route back into the match.
The final whistle sparked scenes of celebration among the Celtic players and supporters, showing just how much this competition meant to them.
Club Views
Rangers FC
Celtic FC
Billy Kirkwood told the Rangers FC official website: “We managed to get a really good goal and had a couple of wee half chances after it. In the second half we made a couple of changes positional-wise and were well in the game. It was a poor second goal to lose and then again, near the end of the game there were a couple of chances which could have taken the game to penalty kicks."
Michael O’Halloran told the Celtic FC official website: “I’m absolutely ecstatic. It’s four in a row in the Glasgow Cup for the club and it’s two-in-a-row for myself and John, and it’s the icing on the cake for what has been a good season so far. There is still a long way to go. We have a league to try and retain as well but to win a cup against your biggest rivals in front of your supporters is absolutely first-class. What a feeling.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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