Furuhashi double earns Celtic League Cup joy over Rangers
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou said he will remember Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Rangers forever as Kyogo Furuhashi’s double retained the League Cup for the Hoops.
Furuhashi also scored twice in last year’s final and took his tally for the season to 24 with two close-range finishes either side of half-time.
Alfredo Morelos pulled a goal back 26 minutes from time but Rangers succumbed to a first defeat since Michael Beale replaced Giovanni van Bronckhorst as manager in November.
“Moments like this, you want to get the whole experience. You watch the players, the fans, what it means to them. I take great pride in it,” said Postecoglou, who has now won three trophies in two years as Celtic boss.
“It’s a day I’ll remember forever. We’ve been consistent for a very long time. We don’t let our standards slip in terms of our football.”
Victory could be the first of a domestic treble for Postecoglou’s men as they lead Rangers by nine points at the top of the Scottish Premiership and are into the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup.
Furuhashi missed his first couple of chances of the game as Allan McGregor rushed from his line to block before Celtic’s talisman headed a glorious opportunity over.
However, he could not miss a minute before half-time as Daizen Maeda flicked on Greg Taylor’s cross and Furuhashi was unmarked to tap in from point-blank range.
A fine team move set up his second as Reo Hatate burst into the Rangers box and squared for his compatriot to force the ball home 11 minutes into the second half.
“Sometimes the measure of a footballer at this club is whether you can deliver on the big occasions. He’s just an unbelievable young man in terms of his personality,” added Postecoglou on Furuhashi.
“He’s such a clever player and he wants the big moments. He delivered again.”
Beale was left frustrated that Rangers only came alive in the final half hour.
“You can’t turn up 30 minutes into the game against your biggest rivals,” said Beale. “We didn’t have enough today.
“I think that was clear to see. It took us too long to find our rhythm in our football and get up to the speed in the game.”
Morelos’ strike had too much power for Joe Hart when Celtic failed to clear a free-kick.
Rangers then surged forward in search of an equaliser to take the game to extra time.
But it was Celtic who had the better chances to seal the trophy in the closing stages as McGregor denied Matt O’Riley and Sead Haksabanovic fired wide.