x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Lennon and Celtic win Scottish Cup to end a troubled season in Scotland

The Glasgow club celebrate the long-term deal to keep manager Neil Lennon at the club with a comfortable 3-0 win against Motherwell at Hampden Park.

Motherwell 0 // Celtic 3

GLASGOW // Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, promised the club’s supporters that today’s Scottish Cup victory would be the first of many trophies captured by his squad of players.

The Glasgow giants were comfortable winners at the end of their 3-0 win over Motherwell in what turned into a fairly one-sided final.

Lennon has had to put up with death threats over the past few months and was also attacked at a Scottish Premier League match two weeks ago, but today he was all smiles.

“It’s a great feeling. I’m really glad for the players and supporters because they have deserved this,” Lennon said. “We could have won by five or six if we could have been more clinical.

“You can see the talent we have in this squad. There is a connection with the supporters who see that they are good players and we can win much more trophies.

“I want to win the big one [the league] but we fell short this season. Now I want to see this group go on and be even more successful. I want the big one on my CV.”

Celtic never looked like not getting their hands on the Scottish Cup for the 34th time in the club’s history after Ki Sung-yueng, scored a spectacular left-footed shot from 25 yards on the half hour mark, which gave the Motherwell goalkeeper Darren Randolph little chance of saving.

Motherwell’s best opportunity came soon after the opening goal when the left-back Gavin Gunning’s long-range effort came back off Celtic’s crossbar.

A rain-soaked Hampden Park pitch led to a number of badly timed tackles, although the game was never bad tempered.

The final was settled with 15 minutes to go. Celtic’s Mark Wilson weak shot at goal was never going in, until Stephen Craigan, the luckless Motherwell captain, stuck out a leg and deflected the ball into his own net.

And with minutes remaining, Charlie Mulgrew scored a superb free-kick from the edge of the box thanks to a mixture of power and accuracy.

Celtic’s biggest individual shareholder Dermot Desmond said before the game that Lennon would be offered a long-term deal.

Although the manager himself admitted: “I don’t know whether the board will decide that I’m the man to take this club forward. But that is a conversation for next week. Today is all about the club winning a trophy.”

Stuart McCall, the Motherwell boss, was magnanimous in his team’s defeat.

“The players gave everything and the fans were fantastic. But Celtic are a good side and they played better than us,” he said.

ncameron@thenational.ae