Scottish Cup Semi-Final
Celtic 1-2 Rangers
Sunday, 17 April 2022, kick off 2pm
Rangers came from behind to defeat rivals Celtic in extra time as they sealed their return to the Scottish Cup Final for the first time in six seasons.
Greg Taylor had given Celtic the lead and they looked well on top before Scott Arfield came off the bench to equalise for Rangers with 15 minutes of normal time remaining.
And with five minutes of extra time left, Celtic defender Carl Starfelt inadvertly turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Fashion Sakala as Rangers won it.
Rangers will now face Hearts in next month’s final as they bid to win the trophy for the first time in 13 years.
Celtic: Taylor (64)
Rangers: Arfield (78), Starfelt (OG 114)
As it happened
Celtic started the match on the back of six consecutive victories and manager Ange Postecoglou only made one change from their 7-0 demolition of St Johnstone last weekend, with Liel Abada coming in for the injured Giorgos Giakoumakis.
Despite playing extra-time on Thursday night against Braga in the UEFA Europa League, Rangers also just made the one alteration, with Jon McLaughlin coming in for Allan McGregor in goals – as he has done throughout this season’s Scottish Cup competition.
In a cauldron of noise inside a packed Hampden Park, the match started at a frantic pace. Rangers created the first chances, with Ryan Kent firing over and Joe Aribo missing with a header, before Kemar Roofe’s low shot from outside the box whistled narrowly wide of the right hand post.
Celtic’s first chance fell to Jota, who also could not direct his header on target when back found at the back post.
After a frantic and breathless first ten minutes, the match settled down with neither side able to create much in the way of clear cut openings, before Rangers almost took the lead in the 33rd minute, as Roofe’s back post header was cleared off the line by Carl Starfelt.
The Ibrox side went even closer five minutes before the break, as John Lundstram curled a sweet strike from the edge of the area but it cannoned off the foot of the left hand upright with Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart well beaten.
Rangers suffered a blow right on half-time, as January signing Aaron Ramsey limped off to be replaced by Scott Wright.
As the second period began, Roofe’s cynical challenge on Maeda then left Celtic supporters incensed as referee Bobby Madden issued just a yellow card.
It was the Celtic Park side who had started brighter after the interval, with Maeda involved again as he set up Reo Hatate who should have hit the target when through on goal.
The noise levels from the Celtic fans increased again on 58 minutes when Kyogo Furuhashi, their talisman for the first half of the season, returned for his first appearance since suffering an injury against St Johnstone on Boxing Day.
And it was soon to get even louder at that end of the stadium, as Celtic took the lead on 64 minutes.
It was a training ground move, with substitute Matt O’Riley playing a short free kick to Callum McGregor, whose precise through ball released Greg Taylor.
The left back’s low effort deflected off Calvin Bassey and went low into the corner past McLaughlin to break the deadlock.
It should have been 2-0 five minutes later, with another Celtic defender Cameron Carter-Vickers popping up in the opposition box, but his left-footed attempt came back off the crossbar.
Rangers’ appeared shellshocked and struggled to create anything as the second half wore on, before they drew level, out of nowhere.
Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst made substitutions of his own, bringing on Steven Davis and Scott Arfield – and it was the latter who made an impact within three minutes of coming on.
Like Taylor’s goal, this was also well worked. Connor Goldson released James Tavernier down the right, who crossed for Roofe. His attempt to control acted as a perfect lay off for Arfield, who fired a first time shot past Joe Hart and into the net.
Neither side could muster a clear chance in the remaining 15 minutes, as the match went to extra-time – just as it had when these sides met at this stage six years ago.
After a cagey opening quarter, Rangers almost won in at the start of the second period, with a combination of Hart keeping out Arfield and Tavernier, before Fashion Sakala’s acrobatic effort landed on the top of the crossbar.
But the Ibrox side did not have to wait much longer for their next opening,– and this time it did end up in the back of the net as they won it with five minutes of extra time remaining. Calvin Bassey drove down the left and his dangerous low cross was bundled in by a combination of Sakala and Starfelt.
The Celtic defender was credited with the own goal, as Rangers advanced to their first Scottish Cup Final since 2016, where they will face Hearts.
Celtic: Hart, Juranovic (Ralston 67), Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor (Welsh 90), Rogic (Furuhashi 58), McGregor, Hatate (Turnbull 109), Abada (O’Riley 58), Maeda (Forrest 90), Jota
Substitutes: Jullien, McCarthy, Johnston, Ideguchi, Bain
Rangers: McLaughlin, Tavernier, Goldson, Bassey, Barisic (Balogun 109), Jack (Davis 75), Lundstram (Kamara 102), Ramsey (Wright 43), Aribo (Arfield 75), Kent, Roofe (Sakala 109)
Substitutes: McGregor, Diallo, Sands, Lowry, King