DOU­BLES Edouard brace floors Hearts and saves Celtic’s his­toric tro­phy grab

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - Rugby Union -

Edouard 62pen, 82

Scott BAIN

Made some saves be­fore be­ing left ex­posed for the opener Mikael LUSTIG Not at best on what could be last game but got as­sist for win­ner Kristof­fer AJER

A force­ful de­fen­sive dis­play and pos­i­tive in pos­ses­sion

Jozo SIMUNOVIC

Put in his usual phys­i­cal ef­fort as Hearts threw men for­ward late on Jonny HAYES Stand-in left-back had good mo­ments go­ing for­ward and in de­fence Scott BROWN

Took a while to get go­ing but lifted it af­ter Celtic fell be­hind Cal­lum McGRE­GOR

By far the busiest of

Celtic’s mid­field­ers in pos­ses­sion

James FOR­REST

Could not pro­duce any of magic which helped Celtic get to Ham­p­den Tom ROGIC Aus­tralian was largely anony­mous and went off in the 70th minute Mikey JOHN­STON Some good touches in first half but could not in­flu­ence it af­ter break Od­sonne EDOUARD

Quiet first half but striker came alive when he needed to SUBS: O Ntcham (Rogic 70)

S Sin­clair (John­ston 72) N Bi­ton (Hayes 89)

Zdenek ZLA­MAL

Rash chal­lenge on Edouard gave away cru­cial penalty

Michael SMITH

A solid dis­play from the North­ern Ire­land right-back John SOUT­TAR Pro­duced a cou­ple of vi­tal tack­les and was ac­com­plished on ball Christophe BERRA Ex­cel­lent first half but was partly at fault for both Celtic goals Aaron HICKEY The 16-year-old only made de­but this month but let no­body down Peter HAR­ING Aus­trian did ex­cel­lent job in front of back four but missed free header Ar­naud DJOUM

Mid­fielder got in­volved and tried to force the game for­ward Ryan ED­WARDS Vin­di­cated his se­lec­tion with com­mit­ted dis­play and the open­ing goal Jake MUL­RANEY Winger was a con­stant threat with his pace and skill Sean CLARE Showed good aware­ness to set up goal with a back­heel Steven MacLEAN Led the line well but could not get a glimpse of goal SUBS: C Wighton (Clare 75) U Ik­peazu (MacLean 78)

O Bozanic (Har­ing 81)

Ed­wards 53

Same as they al­ways do. It’s just the Celtic way.

Twenty-seven straight cup ties won. Only nine games lost out of 141 over three years.

They did it the hard way for sure. Los­ing their first Scot­tish Cup goal all sea­son, go­ing be­hind for the first time in the tour­na­ment all sea­son.

But from deep, deep down the cham­pi­ons found the char­ac­ter they needed, the char­ac­ter they’ve had for so long un­der Bren­dan Rodgers and now Neil Len­non.

The char­ac­ter it takes to win a tre­ble Tre­ble for the first time in Scot­tish foot­ball his­tory.

Fu­elled by the in­spi­ra­tion each of them car­ried, all wear­ing ei­ther No.9 or No.5 on their shorts.

A ges­ture in def­er­ence to the great­ness of Lis­bon Lions lost in Billy McNeill and Ste­vie Chalmers.

It was a won­der­ful touch, even on a day when the cur­rent play­ers achieved some­thing that was never man­aged even by the two foot­ball Gods they were hon­our­ing.

But it took a Ryan Ed­wards goal from Hearts to raise the Hoops from their first half stu­por – and an Od­sonne Edouard dou­ble to raise the roof.

The greats – the Jock Steins and Martin O’Neills, the Bill Struths and Wal­ter Smiths – never man­aged teams who achieved this kind of achieve­ment.

They were cer­tainly made to sweat for it though as Hearts, set up nice and com­pact in a 4-3-3, were clearly far more con­cerned with keep­ing the back door shut early.

And they did. Com­fort­ably.

Af­ter the phoney war of last week­end nei­ther man­ager should have been sur­prised by what the other did.

But there wasn’t a pair of eye­brows in the en­tire sta­dium that didn’t get raised at the sight of the Hearts line-up.

Uche Ik­peazu on the bench, Ed­wards in for just his third start in ma­roon and, in­cred­i­bly, 16-year-old Aaron Hickey given the left-back berth af­ter just a game and a half of se­nior foot­ball.

Jam­bos fans thought it was a foot­ball sui­cide note in teamsheet form, pitch­ing the rookie up against Scot­land’s mul­ti­ple award-win­ning player-of-the-year in James For­rest.

Try telling that to the kid though – he and the rest of the Hearts de­fence were rock solid.

Hearts keeper Bobby Zla­mal didn’t have a sin­gle save to make in the first half. His two cen­tre-halves Christophe Berra and John Sout­tar, headed, slid, blocked and cleared

CELTIC HEARTS CUP COU­PLE Edouard con­verts penalty for 1-1 and (be­low) thumps in his late win­ner be­fore lift­ing the tro­phy at Ham­p­den Park

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