A RYAN Christie goal at the end of the first-half ensured Celtic beat Aberdeen 1-0 and win the Betfred Cup final at Hampden yesterday.

The narrow triumph means the Glasgow club can conceivably achieve another treble this season.

So what did we learn from the first cup final of the 2018/19 campaign?


Brendan Rodgers became just the second manager to win seven consecutive trophies in Scotland yesterday.

Only Walter Smith, whose Rangers side won the Premier League three times, the League Cup twice and the Scottish Cup twice between 1992 and 1994, has pulled off the feat previously.

The double treble winners were deposed as Ladbrokes Premiership leaders by their Glasgow rivals Rangers, who beat Hearts at Tynecastle, before kick-off.

But they have a game in hand on the Ibrox club and will be confident of reclaiming top spot and lifting their eighth consecutive Scottish title in the coming months after this thoroughly professional display.

Can they win the William Hill Scottish Cup and do a triple treble? It is entirely possible.

Rodgers, who has now won all 22 of the cup ties Celtic have had since e arrived in this country, feels his men can perform much better than they did yesterday.

The fact that Celtic started with Brown, Craig Gordon, Leigh Griffiths and Olivier Ntcham on the bench shows the strength in depth he has at his disposal.


Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes missed the presence of Christie, who was on loan to them from Parkhead, on the park when his side took on Celtic in the Scottish Cup final last year.

Yesterday at Hampden he was left cursing the sight of the midfielder he worked with for a season and a half at Pittodrie.

Christie transformed the Betfred Cup semi-final against Hearts at Murrayfield back in October when he came on for Ntcham at half-time.

His goal, scored in the fifth minute of added on time at the end of the first-half, ultimately clinched the cup for his side yesterday.

The Scotland internationalist did well to spot a hole in the heart of the Aberdeen back line, outmuscle Graeme Shinnie, control a long ball from Dedryck Boyata on his left foot and shoot with his right.

When his attempt came back off Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis he pounced on the rebound and fired into the roof of the net with his left foot. It proved the difference between the two teams at the end of the 90 minutes.

The former Inverness Caledonian Thistle player, who has finally established himself at Celtic this season three and half years after signing, was a deserving winner of the Man of the Match award.


The Aberdeen winger posed a serious threat to Celtic whenever he got on the ball in the first-half. He looked capable of cutting open their defence or scoring himself going forward.

Mackay-Steven forced a save from Scott Bain when he got on the end of a Niall McGinn cross six minutes before half-time and nodded towards goal. But he suffered a nasty head injury in the process.

He and Dedryck Boyata, who had tried to block his effort, both fell to the turf. Boyata eventually got to his feet after receiving medical attention and continued with his head bandaged.

However, Mackay-Steven failed to get back up and was stretchered off six minutes later. It was an unsettling sight and it was little surprise when his side fell behind shortly afterwards.

Mercifully, the 28-year-old appears to have suffered no serious damage other than a concussion.

Connor McLennan, the 19-year-old who replaced his team mate, performed well out wide, but his side missed the experience and quality in the final third that Mackay-Steven provides.


Lewis produced a brilliant save from Scott Sinclair’s penalty in the 52nd minute to keep Aberdeen in touch with Celtic.

But the spot kick should never have been awarded. Dominic Ball certainly handled after Christie had chipped into the Aberdeen area. But his arm was outside the box. The referee was fortunate the score remained 1-0.


Shinnie and his team mates competed well for long spells after losing Mackay-Steven and arguably had the better of the second-half.

Nobody in the 50,000-strong crowd could fault their commitment. They were applauded by their fans following the defeat. Only the absence of a top class marksman up front cost them.

Sam Cosgrove, the 21-year-old English striker who has scored just three goals in senior football, went close with an overhead kick in the second-half.

Scott Bain, given the nod ahead of Gordon, also denied Andrew Considine and Mackay-Steven in the first-half, but he was never seriously tested.