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CELTIC v HEARTS: HOW THEY REACHED HAMPDEN

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CELTIC are aiming to confirm their domination of the domestic game when they face Hearts in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden this afternoon.

The rampant Hoops side are just 90 minutes away from an unprecedented treble treble, all nine pieces of silverware in three awesome campaigns.

However, the Tynecastle outfit will be hoping to put the brakes on their opponents rampage through the trophies in today’s showpiece showdown.

Here’s how the Cup holders set up a grand finale:

CELTIC 3 AIRDRIE 0: Fourth Round 

On-loan Paris Saint-Germain forward Timothy Weah came off the substitutes’ bench to net on his debut, but it was Scott Sinclair who did most of the damage against the League One outfit. The winger scored twice, had a penalty saved and a goal controversially disallowed for offside.

CELTIC 5 ST JOHNSTONE 0: Fifth Round

Scott Sinclair banged in a hat-trick as the Hoops turned over the Perh side for the third time in 10 days.

However, the flamboyant Englishman was upstaged by skipper Scott Brown, who blasted in a ferocious 30-yarder for his first goal in almost two years.

James Forrest netted his sixth goal against the Saints. It was a record 24th consecutive victory in domestic Cup-ties.

HIBS 0 CELTIC 2: Quarter-Final

Neil Lennon had replaced Brendan Rodgers after his sudden departure to Leicester City only five days earlier. He helped the side beat Hearts 2-1 a mere 24 hours agreeing the post on an interim basis and now he was back in Edinburgh to take on his former team.

James Forrest and Scott Brown were the second-half marksmen as they recorded an 11th win in 11 domestic games in 2019.

ABERDEEN 0 CELTIC 3: Semi-Finals

The holders eventually cruised to victory over a Dons team that saw Dom Ball and Lewis Ferguson red-carded in each half while boss Derek McInnes and his assistant Tony Docherty were also removed from the dug-out.

One of the key moments was the second yellow card for Ball following a reckless challenge that left Ryan Christie with multiple facial injuries that ended his season. James Forrest then scored a spectacular breakthrough goal and, after the turnaround, Odsonne Edouard rolled in a penalty-kick and Tom Rogic swept in the third.

Neil Lennon hailed Forrest afterwards: “He’s one of the best players in Britain now. His goal was top-class and set us on another tremendous victory.”

Here’s how Hearts reached Hampden.

HEARTS 1 LIVINGSTON 0: Fourth Round

Craig Levein’s men edged a tight contest with a well-worked goal from Sean Clare early in the second-half when he curled home from 18 yards after a clever lay-off from debutant David Vanecek.

First team coach Jon Daly said: “It was a fantastic move. I spoke to David at half-time about getting hold of the ball and giving us a platform to build from, I thought he was loose in the first-half. Sean, in the first-half was slack, and coach Liam Fox had a little pop at him. It’s great that you get a reaction from them.”

HEARTS 4 AUCHINLECK TALBOT 0: Fifth Round

The Ayrshire Junior outfit earned a trip to Tynecastle following a sensational derby win over Championship outfit Ayr United, but Christophe Berra headed home inside 10 minutes to settle the hosts’ nerves. Demi Mitchell and Steven MacLean netted before Aidan Keena notched his first Hearts goal.

Manager Craig Levein said: “It was a bit of a no-win situation for us, but I was pleased with our first-half performance.”

HEARTS 2 PARTICK THISTLE 1: Quarter-Final Replay

The Edinburgh team were held to a 1-1 draw at Firhill and were given another tough test in the second game. Experienced Australian striker Scott McDonald put the visitors ahead from close range in the 17th minute, but Uche Ikpeazu levelled seven minutes later.

The second-half was all about penalties – Sean Clare scored one, Ikpeazu missed one and Thistle were denied two strong appeals in stoppage time.

HEARTS 3 INVERNESS CALEY THISTLE 0: Semi-Final

Craig Levein’s men overcame a team managed by John Robertson, their record goalscorer and former manager, after a powerful second-half showing. Uche Ikpeazu and John Souttar scored following corners before Sean Clare slid in the third via a penalty-kick.

Craig Levein said: “We’ve had a roller-coaster season, but I’m so proud of the players and how they dealt with the pressure.”

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About Author

Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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