The History Bhoys
Celtic have made history today as they became the first British club to win three domestic trebles in a row after they came from a goal down to beat Hearts 2-1 in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park.
Having already secured the Scottish Premiership title and the League Cup, Celtic took to the rain soaked Hampden pitch looking to complete another domestic clean sweep, but it wasn’t plain sailing for Neil Lennon’s side.
Craig Levein’s Hearts side took a shock lead on 52 minutes as Ryan Edwards fired home from close range, but their lead lasted just ten minutes as Celtic equalised from the penalty spot through Odsonne Edouard - after the Frenchman had been brought down in the box by Hearts keeper Zdeněk Zlámal.
And just eight minutes from time, it was Edouard again who delivered the killer blow to Hearts chances to winning the Scottish Cup as he beat the offside trap to fire home past Zlámal and send the Celtic support delirious as they secured yet another treble.
The story of the game
Many expected Celtic to romp to Scottish Cup victory given that Levein’s side were going into the match off the back of a run of five games without a win - since their 3-0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the semi finals of the competition back in April.
But no one told Levein’s side what the script was and they gave as good as they got in the first half - despite chances being few and far between. Hearts’ central defensive pairing of Christophe Berra and John Souttar stood resolute against Celtic’s attacks - while winger Jake Mulraney proved to be a thorn in the side of the Celtic defence - seemingly having the better of full back Mikael Lustig - with a number of decent crosses into the box but could not seriously test Scott Bain in the Celtic goal.
Just seven minutes into the second half and Hearts took a shock lead through Ryan Edwards. Relegated last season with Partick Thistle and back with the Tynecastle club after a poor first half of the season on loan to St.Mirren, Edwards latched onto a neat back heel from Sean Clare to fire home from seven yards.
The Hearts fans were sensing a famous cup upset was on the cards, but their dreams were short lived as just ten minutes later Celtic were awarded a penalty after Hearts keeper Zdeněk Zlámal rashly brought down Celtic’s £9 million striker Edouard.
And despite going the right way Zlámal failed to keep out the resulting penalty as Edouard wheeled away celebrating his equaliser in front of jubilant and relieved Celtic fans.
That goal signalled a shift in play as Celtic pushed forward looking for their winner and despite a number of threatening attacks from Hearts, on 82 minutes that man Odsonne Edouard delivered once more.
The French striker latched onto a Mikael Lustig header, which was left by Berra, before the former PSG youngster fired home brilliantly into the back of the Hearts net.
There was still time for Hearts to secure an unlikely equaliser but they could not find a way through Celtic’s resolute defence and as the final whistle blew - Hearts sank to the ground in despair as Celtic celebrated an historic treble treble.
Manager Neil Lennon collapsed to the turf in tears as his side made history. The Northern Irishman had only been in the job for little over three months after the shock departure of Brendan Rodgers to Leicester City and he duly delivered on what was asked of him and his players.
It wasn’t a vintage cup final nor was it a great performance from this Celtic side, but their desire and fight to get over the line won the day once more. It is a special time for Celtic fans and one that will be remembered for years to come.
CELTIC: Bain; Lustig, Simunovic, Ajer, Hayes (Bitton 88); Brown, McGregor, Rogic (Ntcham 70), Forrest, Johnston (Sinclair 71); Edouard
Subs not used: De Vries, Toljan, Benkovic, Dembele.
HEARTS: Zlamal, M.Smith, Souttar, Haring (Bozanic 80), Berra, Clare (Wighton 74), Djoum, MacLean (Ikpeazu 78) Edwards, Mulraney, Hickey
Subs not used: Doyle, Shaughnessy, Cochrane, Burns.