Celtic 2-0 Rangers: Hoops close on domestic treble after Old Firm semi-final win
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 24/04/17 12:39am
Treble-chasing Celtic booked their place in the Scottish Cup final with a 2-0 semi-final victory over Old Firm rivals Rangers at Hampden Park.
Callum McGregor's 11th-minute strike set the dominant Scottish champions on course for victory before Scott Sinclair's 51st-minute penalty sealed a final spot against Aberdeen on May 27.
The victory, Celtic's first Scottish Cup semi-final triumph over their Glasgow rivals since 1925, moved Brendan Rodgers' men a step closer to their first domestic treble since 2001, with the title and League Cup already secured.
The 407th meeting of Glasgow's top-two clubs got off to the usual fiery start as Andy Halliday saw yellow, and not red, for his reckless, ill-timed challenge on Patrick Roberts.
Rangers' attempts to disrupt Celtic's exuberant start failed to come to fruition as Stuart Armstrong's curling ninth-minute effort came within inches of handing the Hoops the lead.
But, just two minutes later, the deadlock was broken when Moussa Dembele, having chested down a long ball, laid it into the path of McGregor who unerringly slotted the ball past a stationary Wes Foderingham.
Celtic dominated until Dembele was forced from the field with a hamstring injury on 27 minutes, where Rangers retained possession for a further seven minutes as Dembele's replacement, Leigh Griffiths, was halted from entering the fray.
After Griffiths had called Foderingham into action with a free-kick, Rangers ended the half brightly, linking up in opposition territory for the first time in a testing first period.
Pedro Caixinha brought on Barrie McKay and Joe Dodoo at half-time and the changes had the desired effect as Rangers restarted brightly.
But any hope Gers had of extending their impressive Scottish Cup semi-final record against Celtic evaporated on 49 minutes when James Tavernier sent Griffiths tumbling in the area.
Up stepped Sinclair who, courtesy of the post, managed to beat the despairing reach of Foderingham, who got fingertips to the ball.
And Foderingham singlehandedly prevented Celtic from running amok, thwarting Griffiths' stunning 53rd-minute volley and Roberts' low drive.
Tavernier, looking to make amends for giving away a penalty, presented Kenny Miller with a glorious chance to reduce the arrears, but Craig Gordon was on hand to stop Rangers' first attempt on goal in the 62nd minute.
Miller floated a volley onto the roof of the Celtic goal 13 minutes from time before Gordon used his feet to prevent the veteran from setting up frantic final 10 minutes.
With three minutes remaining, Tavernier picked out Martyn Waghorn at the far post, but his wayward header came to typify Rangers' afternoon as Celtic set their sights on the third treble in the club's history.