Reo Hatate produced a dominant display as Celtic beat Rangers to retain the Scottish League Cup; Kyogo Furuhashi scored a double in Sunday’s Hampden showdown; the Hoops remain on course for a domestic treble
Former Celtic midfielder Mark Wilson believes the League Cup final was won in midfield with Reo Hatate “head and shoulders above the rest”.
Ange Postcoglou’s side retained the trophy as Kyogo Furuhashi netted a double to seal a 2-1 victory over Rangers.
Hatate produced a dominant midfield display and set up Kyogo for his second goal at Hampden Park as the Hoops ended Michael Beale’s unbeaten start as Rangers manager.
Wilson, who lifted the League Cup with Celtic in 2009, pinpointed the Japan international as key to their victory.
“He was incredible,” he said of the 25-year-old who has scored five goals in the league this season.
“You see his movement and the running off the ball that he does, but his quality on the ball was what set him apart.
“I thought he was head and shoulders above the rest and he had an involvement in the two goals.
“I think Hatate’s been the star for them this year in all competitions and, when you do it in a final, it obviously stands out a bit more.
“I was surprised when Ange Postecoglou chose to take him off when he did because Rangers were coming into the game at that point, it was a bit on a knife edge.
“It just shows you the faith that Ange has in his substitutions and his new signings, that he’s brought to this country, that he’s prepared to put them on when the game is on a knife edge.”
Hatate set up Celtic’s second goal at Hampden
Sunday’s victory means Postecoglou has now won three honours since taking charge at Celtic in June 2021.
Celtic sit nine points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership and remain on course for a domestic treble with a Scottish Cup quarter-final tie with Hearts next month.
Wilson believes the Australian deserves credit for the way he handles the pressure of managing the team.
“I grew up in the city and grew up a Celtic fan so I knew exactly what it meant to support the club,” he added.
“You never really hear from Postecoglou about that side and the pressure that falls on his shoulders, and it is great but he’s managed to deal with it pretty well.
“I think you could see how relieved he was, especially when the second goal went in, and on the final whistle you could see the weight lifting.
“He deserved a good night because he puts an awful lot of work into this side, does a lot of press conferences where he has to bat off a lot of questions.”
McGregor: We’re lucky to have Kyogo
Callum McGregor described Kyogo Furuhashi as a “superstar” after another Viaplay Cup final double from the Celtic striker brought the trophy back to Parkhead.
“He is a superstar. I can’t talk highly enough about him.
“In our system the striker has to be really disciplined and be in between the posts and again today he is in there with two great finishes, finishing off the team moves.
“It takes a lot of discipline to play in that position and that is two finals in a row he has scored the two goals that has won it.
“So, a real superstar and we are lucky to have him.”
“First half I thought we were really good, really dominant in the game and probably unlucky to go in (just) one up.
“But good from us in a showpiece occasion, stuck to our football and really causing them problems. I don’t think they won the ball back once in transition so really good from us.