24 May 2024

5 talking points ahead of the Scottish Cup final between Celtic and Rangers

24 May 2024

Celtic face Rangers in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup final at Hampden on Saturday.

The Hoops are looking to clinch the double, while Rangers have their sights on a brace of cup triumphs since Philippe Clement took charge.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the key talking points ahead of a match which could have a profound impact on the summers of both sets of fans.

Hart stopper

Former Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart bids to go out on a high when he makes the final appearance of his career. The 37-year-old has had an emotional build-up with winning the title and playing his last game at Celtic Park, and is determined to win the 12th major trophy of his career.

The most successful club in Scotland?

Rangers have at times declared themselves as the most successful club in the world, although Egyptian side Al Ahly have recently laid claim to the title of most major honours. The Light Blues count 118 major trophies, although Celtic fans would argue that the club should have started from scratch in 2012 when Rangers went into liquidation and their assets and business were transferred to a new company. Those arguments could soon become academic though as Celtic will claim their 118th major trophy if they win on Saturday. The Hoops went into the 21st century 21 trophies behind their Old Firm rivals.

Can Rangers reverse the dominance?

Celtic claimed 10 points against their rivals this season and have only lost one of the last 11 derbies, the defeat coming 12 months ago after Ange Postecoglou’s side had wrapped up the title. Current Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers enjoys an imperious derby record over two spells with 13 wins and one defeat in 17 games. There has only been one goal in each of Celtic’s three wins this season and Rangers were down to 10 men in two of those, but Philippe Clement’s side will need to find a way to stop Callum McGregor dictating play and Matt O’Riley being so influential – he has delivered two goals and two assists in the four league matches.

History in the making

This is the 150th anniversary of the Scottish Cup final. Celtic lead the way with 41 triumphs while Rangers count 34. Both sides have lost 18 finals. There have been 15 derby meetings between the teams in the final and seven wins each – the 1909 cup was withheld after fans rioted when there was no extra-time after the drawn replay. The last Old Firm final was 22 years ago when Peter Lovenkrands headed a stoppage-time winner for Rangers.

Rangers risks

Celtic have a fully-fit squad for the final and have hit form in recent times with some of their best players back from injury. The champions have won 10 and drawn one of their last 11 games. Rangers are not so settled. They are missing the likes of Danilo, Connor Goldson, John Souttar and have several fitness doubts with Clement set to take some risks given the timing and the significance of the game. Rangers are only six weeks on from handing the title initiative to Celtic by dropping five points in four days against Ross County and Dundee. They have won only six of their last 14 matches. All logic points to a Celtic victory but there have been plenty of surprises in a century-and-a-half of the Scottish Cup.

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