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Watch: Celtic Win Historic Twelfth Consecutive Trophy In Classic Cup Final Against Hearts

Watch: Celtic Win Historic Twelfth Consecutive Trophy In Classic Cup Final Against Hearts
By Emmet Bradshaw Updated

It's fair to say that very little has gone to plan for Celtic so far this season.

A 16 point lead for Rangers at the top of the SPL table and an early exit from the Europa League has led to fans protesting outside Celtic Park and calling for Neil Lennon to be sacked. If Lennon is to turn the tide in his favour this season, then winning the Scottish Cup Final against Championship side Hearts at Hampden Park was an absolute necessity. And they did...just.

At half-time Celtic were cruising. A magnificent strike from Ryan Christie set them off, when he skillfully captured the ball with his left foot before whipping a beauty into the top corner - a goal worthy of any cup final.

Before the half hour mark the lead was doubled. From a Celtic corner, Shane Duffy's header was handled and they were awarded a penalty. Odsonne Edouard delivered as cool a panenka as you are likely to see, and at that stage it looked like Celtic were on course for a comfortable day out at Hampden.

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It wasn't long after half time before the tide began to turn. A Liam Boyce header brought Hearts back into it.

Hearts then introduced Josh Ginnelly who had a big impact on the second half, regularly running in behind the Celtic defence and causing them problems. They were level on 67 mins when Stephen Kingsley's header was judged to have crossed the line.

In the latter stages of normal time, Hearts looked the more threatening side, with Ginnelly missing a huge chance in stoppage time.ย Shane Duffy was taken off with a hamstring injury at the end of normal time and when the teams re-started, Hearts continued to threaten. But Celtic re-took the lead moments before the end of the first period of extra time, when a powerful header from Scott Brown was saved by Craig Gordon, and Leigh Griffiths was alive to the re-bound to turn it in.

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From here, Celtic would have expected to close the game out, but it wasn't to be. Eight minutes from the end, Josh Ginnelly equalised for Hearts when Celtic failed to deal with a scrappy set-piece. It was deserved for Hearts who showed great courage to come back twice and stay in the game.

So with the sides level at 3-3, it went on to penalties.

The first miss of the shootout came from Celtic goalscorer Ryan Christie, when Gordon made the save. But Hearts failed to make it count as Celtic keeper Conor Hazard made two huge saves to allow Christopher Ajer slam the winning penalty home and deliver an historic moment for the Scottish champions.

The Celtic supporters will be hugely relieved with the win given how the game panned out, but their moment of joy was almost spoiled when the live feed cut out moments before Ajer's winning penalty.

But a poorly timed technical glitch won't be enough to spoil the moment. It was a huge moment for the club and for Neil Lennon in particular, who couldn't hide his emotion when speaking after the game.

Scott Brown was immense for Celtic in his usual combative style, frequently clashing with Stephen Naismith throughout. Brown was also involved in a pull-apart with some Hearts players after the whistle. But it wasn't enough to spoil a classic final where Hearts were extremely unlucky to come away with nothing.

It marks an incredible twelfth consecutive trophy for Celtic, the quadruple treble, in a season where they would win an historic tenth consecutive league title if they can manage to haul Rangers back in the title race. It is an unprecedented run of dominance over four years that Celtic fans will savour.

But looking towards the future, the manner of this win suggests that Celtic have a lot of work to do if they are to get back to their best and retain the title this season. Time will tell if this trophy is a turning point for Neil Lennon, or if it simply papers over the cracks.

SEE ALSO: Roy Keane Roasts Serge Aurier For Moment Of 'Madness' Against Leicester

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