CARL STARFELT turned the ball into his own net late into extra-time as Rangers advanced to the Scottish Cup Final – and ended Celtic’s Treble hopes.
The Hoops defender bundled home a low Calvin Bassey cross with just seven minutes left on the clock to secure a return to Hampden for Rangers next month – after pressure from sub Fashion Sakala.
Fashon Sakala nets Rangers’ winner over Celtic in extra-timeCredit: Getty
The result ends Celtic’s hopes of a domestic clean sweep and puts Rangers just 90 minutes away from silverware, with Hearts providing the opposition at the national stadium next month.
It was a big effort from Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men, who also had to come through extra-time on Thursday night in their Europa League triumph over Braga.
And after back to back league defeats to Celtic, the Light Blues came from behind to earn the derby day bragging rights.
It was a frantic start to the action at Hampden with Ryan Kent finding himself with the first real chance of the game.
A great challenge by John Lundstram in the middle of the park to rob the ball from Reo Hatate allowed Aaron Ramsey to break but his pass to Kent wasn’t spot on and the winger fired high and wide.
A minute later Joe Aribo headed over from a James Tavernier cross before Jota headed over Jon McLaughlin’s goal with five minutes on the clock.
Kemar Roofe was next to try his luck in the opening stages but his 20-yard effort flashed past Joe Hart’s post.
The game started to settle down with no real clear-cut chances created until midway through the first period but Liel Abada fired wide after standing up Borna Barisic.
Moments later Ramsey tried his luck down at the other end but fired a free-kick well over Hart’s bar.
Just after the half hour mark, great play between Aribo and Barisic allowed the latter to deliver a ball into the box but Roofe’s header was cleared by Carl Starfelt before Ramsey’s return cross landed in the hands of Joe Hart.
The best chance of the half arrived with 40 minutes on the clock as Lundstram shaped up and fired a curling effort from 25-yards out but his effort smashed off the post, with Hart well beaten.
Rangers then suffered a big injury blow when Ramsey was forced off for Scott Wright at the end of the first period.
Into the second half and Celtic created the first chance after great link-up play between Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate but the latter was off balance and dragged his effort wide of the goal.
Two minutes later Kent went close after some good work down the left side – but after skipping past two Celtic stars he fired past Hart’s right-hand post.
Matt O’Riley joined Kyogo Furuhashi in a double change for Abada and Tom Rogic and the January signing played a huge part in the Hoops’ opener.
His took a short free-kick to McGregor, before the skipper fired a ball into Greg Taylor and his shot – via the aid of a deflection – found the bottom corner to leave McLaughlin with no chance.
Five minutes later Cameron Carter-Vickers should have doubled Celtic’s advantage after poor defending from Rangers at a corner but his effort smashed off the crossbar and away.
The big miss came back to haunt Celtic as Rangers levelled the scoring with 12 minutes to play.
Scott Arfield – who had only just come on minutes earlier – got on the end of a low Tavernier cross, via a Roofe touch, and fired a curling effort beyond a helpless Hart.
With two minutes to play Jota found some space out wide and delivered a ball into the box but Kyogo didn’t time his jump with his header sailing wide of McLaughlin’s goal.
Up the other end, Steven Davis had a half chance in the final minute of normal time but fired over the bar after some good work from Kent up against Tony Ralston.
Roofe had the best chance of the opening period of extra time after latching onto a through ball from Wright but Hart did excellently to come out and gather at his feet after riding two Celtic challenges.
Jota also went close as his ball across goal beat McLaughlin but there was no takers for the Hoops at the back post as the ball crossed the line and out of danger for a goal-kick.
Rangers went inches away with ten minutes of extra-time to play as Tavernier hit the post before Fashion Sakala’s follow up effort came back off the bar before the ball went out to safety.
Moments later the big moment arrived and it was an own goal from Starfelt that sent the Rangers fans wild at Hampden.
A lung-bursting run from Bassey ended with the defender firing a low ball across the front of goal with the Swede turning past his own goalkeeper – under pressure from Sakala.
It proved to be the last chance of the game with Rangers holding on to book their Hampden return and a spot in the Scottish Cup Final.
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