Celtic are aiming to complete the treble for the second season in a row when they face Motherwell at Hampden Park in the Scottish Cup Final. Brendan Rodgers’ men are attempting to complete the treble in back-to-back terms for the first time in their history, highlighting their dominance in Scottish football.
Celtic won the Scottish League Cup by also beating Motherwell in the final in February. It was a closely-fought contest, but second-half goals from James Forrest and Moussa Dembele delivered the crown for the Hoops for the 17th time in their history.
The Bhoys were able to win the Scottish Premier League by a healthy margin, although not quite as comfortably as their triumph in the 2016/17 season. Aberdeen and Rangers provided competition during the middle stages of the term, although they were never close enough to knock Rodgers’ men off the top of the table, as Celtic claimed their seventh title on the bounce.
Motherwell stand in their way of completing the treble. The Well have won the Scottish Cup twice in their history, last winning the competition in the 1990/91 campaign. The club have reached the final on eight occasions but have lost five times in the final, including their defeat to Celtic in 2011. Goals from Ki-Sung Yeung and Charlie Mulgrew along with an own goal from Stephen Craigan delivered a win for the Bhoys.
We’ll now break down the both sides’ journey to the final and who their key men will be.
The Hoops entered the competition in the fourth round and advanced with ease with a 5-0 hammering of Brechin City. Partick Thistle put up a fight in the fifth round, although a hat-trick from Craig Forrest put Rodgers’ men in command of the contest. Kris Doolan and Conor Sammon got goals back to reduce the deficit, but the Bhoys held out on home soil to secure the win.
Dembele scored a brace, while Edouard got on the scoresheet to dispatch Greenock Morton before Rangers awaited in the last four. Celtic destroyed their rivals with a brilliant performance as strikes from Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor fired them into a half-time lead. Dembele and Olivier Ntcham scored second-half penalties to compound the victory, sending the Bhoys into the final for the 57th time.
The Bhoys’ Key Men
Dembele has been the key man for Rodgers’ side this term, scoring 16 goals in 37 appearances in all competitions. He has not been quite as impressive as last term, although the 21-year-old has started to find his peak form towards the end of the campaign. He has scored three goals in his three Scottish Cup appearances this term. Expect him to be active in the final third and to be a strong contender to be the first goalscorer at odds of 23/10 for the Bhoys.
Forrest has also been on form in the final third. The midfielder has 11 goals in 57 appearances for the Bhoys, highlighting his value for Rodgers. He can play anywhere across a three-man supporting line behind Dembele, with the Bhoys using his versatility to great effect. Forrest could be in line for another key performance at Hampden Park.
In the booking market, look no further than Scott Brown at 11/8. His ill-discipline has been an issue throughout his career. Although the 32-year-old has not been dismissed this term, he has collected four yellow cards in his last eight matches.
The Well began their cup campaign in the fourth round of the competition, defeating Hamilton Academical 2-0 at Fir Park. Steve Robinson’s side were then handed a tie against Dundee. A strike from Craig Tanner along with an own goal from Kevin Holt sent them through the next round with relative ease. However, they were handed a tough task against Hearts, even though the match was on home soil. An own goal from Jonathan McLaughlin put the hosts ahead, only for Kyle Lafferty to equalise. The contest looked to be heading towards extra-time but Craig McHugh popped up three minutes from time to send Motherwell through to the last four.
Robinson’s men put forward a fine performance in the semis to coast through to the final. Aberdeen were blown away in the early stages as early goals from Curtis Main and Ryan Bowman sent the Well on their way, while Main secured the win with a strike in the second half. They will have to rise to the occasion to see off the Bhoys. Motherwell finished seventh in the Scottish Premier League, just behind Hearts, but they were well off the pace for European qualification.
The Well’s Key Men
Since joining the club in January, Main has been active in the final third, scoring eight goals in 20 appearances. He will be the key figure for the Well, leading the line, and with Tanner and Bowman will provide the threat for Robinson’s side. The club have been aided by their fair share of own goals in the competition, which is unlikely to continue against Celtic. Therefore their attacking trio will have to find a way through.
Motherwell collected 70 yellow cards and five reds in their 38 league matches. They’ve been much improved in their run to the final, notching just six yellows. Carl McHugh (evens) and Cedric Kipre (13/8) are your best options in the booking market, with the former collecting 12 bookings, while the latter had nine, as well as two dismissals against Celtic in their meetings this term.
Celtic are unbeaten in their four matches against Motherwell this term. They’ve played 91 times over the course of history, with the Hoops notching 61 victories to the Well’s 12. Rodgers’ men eased past Motherwell in the League Cup final with a 2-0 victory, while they also boast a 5-1 hammering in their league meeting at Celtic Park.
In their two clashes at Fir Park, Motherwell managed to secure draws on both occasions. However, expect Celtic to add yet another crown to the collection in the clash with a comfortable win at Hampden Park at odds of 1/3, notching the treble for the second season on the bounce.