William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3-2 Celtic (aet)
Sunday, 19 April 2015
Tansey 58’ pen, Ofere 96’, Raven 117’; Van Dijk 18’, Guidetti 103’
An extra-time winner from David Raven gave Inverness Caley Thistle a 3-2 win over Celtic and launched them into their first ever William Hill Scottish Cup final.
The Highlanders were 1-0 down at the break but took the game to added time through a Greg Tansey penalty. Goals from John Guidetti and Edward Ofere evened things up before Raven prodded in a Graeme Shinnie cross to win the game.
Inverness will now play Falkirk on Saturday 30 May to decide who will become the 2015 William Hill Scottish Cup champions.
There was a familiar look to the teams that played out a 1-1 draw in the Premiership last weekend. Leigh Griffiths replacing John Guidetti up front for Celtic with Ryan Esson given his 13th start of the season in the Inverness goals – the only changes to the starting XIs.
Celtic wasted no time in getting the fans off their seats, hitting the woodwork within the first 15 minutes. A Griffiths challenge outside the Inverness box was picked up by Nir Bitton who unleashed a thunderous looping shot at goal that had the beating of Esson but not the post.
James Forrest looked in a particularly menacing mood - tirelessly cutting in from the left at pace - and he won a decisive free-kick for Celtic on 18 minutes after being brought down by Warren on the edge of the box.
Virgil Van Dijk stepped up to take and curled in a magnificent free-kick to score his 4th goal of this year’s William Hill Scottish Cup.
Inverness were soon offered the chance to equalise on 25 minutes when Edward Ofere took advantage of a loose ball in the box but he couldn’t connect and scuffed his shot wide.
Johansen has been one of Celtic’s stand out performers this year and almost doubled the lead after finding himself on the end of some neat play between Izaguirre and Griffiths. The Norwegian was on target but couldn’t get past Esson who palmed away to safety.
Gary Warren’s headed effort on 43 minutes offered hope for Caley Thistle who were left to thank their stars moments later.
Johansen was heavily involved again, driving a shot that hit off Esson’s leg and bounced to Griffiths who had made a clever run on the right. The former Hibs man headed at goal but was denied by Jose Meekings who looked to have got a hand to his shot - much to the Celtic team’s frustration.
The second-half certainly didn’t let up in excitement and within 13 minutes of the restart the scores were level.
A great ball from the Inverness defence was played up to Marley Watkins who was brought down by Craig Gordon whilst one-on-one in the box. Referee Steven McLean had no option but to send off the Celtic keeper and award a penalty.
Lukasz Zaluska was brought on but couldn’t stop Greg Tansey’s well taken spot-kick that set off wild celebrations in the Inverness end.
The goal had the effect of stepping up the pace on an already frantic encounter. On 65 minutes a Johansen cross had to be tipped over the crossbar by Esson while at the other end a good drive across goal from Watkins was inches away from going in.
Inverness were proving dangerous from counter-attacks and another quick play set up Watkins, who shot just wide of the post on 65 minutes.
With nothing to separate the teams the tie went to extra-time with even more drama to come.
In the opening five minutes Zaluska was forced into a great save by Ryan Christie’s well taken drive. It was a mark of Caley’s gradual influence on the game and they soon had reason to celebrate.
A cross from the left was cushioned down by the excellent Watkins who found Ofere with his lay off. The Nigerian made no mistake with the shot – side-footing in past Zaluska for Inverness’ second of the game.
But the lead didn’t last for long. Substitute John Guidetti – on the field for just a few minutes – took a free-kick that bounced over Esson and into the net, to make it two goals each at the half-way stage of extra-time.
Then – with just 4 minutes on the clock – Inverness netted the goal that would launch them into the 2015 Scottish Cup final. An excellent move from Graeme Shinnie seen the captain drive across goal to the back post where David Raven was waiting to prod in the winner.
Inverness CT: Esson (GK), Raven, Shinnie (c), Warren, Meekings, Ofere, Draper, Watkins, Tansey, Williams (Ross 74), Christie. SUBS: Mackay (GK), Vincent, Doran, Tremarco, Polworth, Kink.
Celtic: Gordon (GK), Matthews, Izaguirre, Van Dijk, Bitton, Brown (c), Commons (Tonev 90), Denayar, Johansen, Griffiths (Guidetti 96), Forrest (Zaluska GK 53) SUBS: Ambrose, Scepovic, McGregor, Tierney.
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