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Celtic 1-0 St Johnstone: James Forrest substitute toilet holders to reserve a spot in Scottish League Cup final

Celtic 1-0 St Johnstone – Substitute James Forrest shoots home from close range minutes after spectacular fan tribute to legend Bertie Auld when Bhoys book a spot in the Scottish League Cup final

  • James Forrest came off the bench to send Celtic to the Scottish League Cup final
  • Fans paid tribute to European Cup winner Bertie Auld in the 67th minute
  • Scottish winger Forrest took the winning goal in the 73rd minute at Hampden


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A goal from substitute James Forrest allowed Celtic to pay a fitting Hampden tribute to Bertie Auld as St Johnstone’s cup glory streak came to an end.

Forrest shot home the only goal from close range in the 73rd minute when Celtic beat a stubborn Saints team 1-0 in the Premier Sports Cup semifinals.

Celtic fans and players paid tribute to Lisbon’s Lion Auld six days after his death and Forrest proved to be a fitting scorer.

James Forrest came off the bench to send Celtic to the Scottish League Cup final in December

James Forrest came off the bench to send Celtic to the Scottish League Cup final in December

MATCH FACTS

Celtic: Hart, Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Welsh (McCarthy 78), Juranovic, Turnbull (Soro 90), Bitton, McGregor, Abada (Forrest 69), Furuhashi (Ajeti 90), Jota (Johnston 90).

Unused subs: Scales, Urhoghide, Bain, Montgomery.

Reserved: Bitton, Furuhashi, Turnbull.

Aim: Forrest 73.

St Johnstone: Clark, Brown (Vertainen 80), Gordon, McCart, Rooney (Dendoncker 90), Wotherspoon (Crawford 52), Davidson, Bryson (Craig 80), Booth, O’Halloran, Kane.

Unused subs: Parish, Muller, Northcott, Ambrose, Moreland.

Reserved: McCart, Bryson, Davidson, Rooney, Crawford, Craig.

Referee: Nick Walsh (Scotland).

Auld once joked that Celtic considered Hampden their training ground, as they were there so often. Forrest, who is no stranger to a goal at the national stadium, got a chance to win his 20th major trophy when his team faces the winners of Sunday’s semi-final between Rangers and Hibernian on December 19.

St Johnstone fans missed their team winning four times at Hampden last season and gave the double cup winners a standing ovation after a spirited display.

There was a minute of applause for Auld before the game and Celtic fans also paid tribute to the winner of the European Cup with a massive display and a banner that read: “They will cheer you on and they will never forget you.” It was the prophetic words of Auld’s father the day his son first signed with Celtic 66 years ago.

There was more praise in the 67th minute when a giant portrait of the midfielder was accompanied by a pyrotechnic display and a massive flashlight. Players paid their own tribute by wearing Auld’s No. 10 favorite in his shorts.

The Scottish winger fired at point-blank range in the 73rd minute on Saturday

The Scottish winger fired at point-blank range in the 73rd minute on Saturday

The Scottish winger fired at point-blank range in the 73rd minute on Saturday

Celtic got off to a brilliant start when they kicked the ball to the left for Jota to cause trouble three times in the first six or seven minutes. David Turnbull shot well over the end cutout and saw a blocked header from a rabona cross.

The Saints soon solved the problem and Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart survived a major scare when Michael O’Halloran attacked him while looking for a pass in his six-yard box. The ball flashed a meter off the post.

With Craig Bryson in particular hounding Celtic players in possession, space was tight in the Saints’ half.

Jota fell into the area after a light push from Shaun Rooney, but referee Nick Walsh decided there wasn’t enough.

Fans paid tribute to European Cup winner Bertie Auld in the 67th minute on Saturday

Fans paid tribute to European Cup winner Bertie Auld in the 67th minute on Saturday

Fans paid tribute to European Cup winner Bertie Auld in the 67th minute on Saturday

Kyogo Furuhashi was falling short to get involved and his initiative led to an opportunity for Liel Abada, but Bryson made a tremendous sliding block.

The starters threatened twice from long distance at the end of the half. Hart mustered Bryson’s rebounding effort on the second try before fighting back as Chris Kane’s effort flashed wide.

The Perth team suffered a blow early in the second half when David Wotherspoon immediately called for help when he fell after appearing to hit his knee. Although a stretcher was called out, the midfielder was able to leave when Ali Crawford entered.

Celtic were pushing the Saints back, but they were still struggling to take down their opponents and their fans turned up the volume, feeling their team would need all the help to get past Callum Davidson’s well-organized men.

The giant portrait of the midfielder was accompanied by a massive flashlight and pyrotechnic display

The giant portrait of the midfielder was accompanied by a massive flashlight and pyrotechnic display

The giant portrait of the midfielder was accompanied by a massive flashlight and pyrotechnic display

He got more help when Forrest replaced Abada and was available to shoot home from six yards after Jota circled James Brown’s outside and threw a rebounding cross off two Saints players.

There was a flash point moments later when Rooney, frustrated by the double whammy of being caught by Cameron Carter-Vickers’ arm just before goal, caught Stephen Welsh with a flying elbow on a high ball. Walsh brandished a yellow card, one of 10 during the game, and the Celtic defender left with a face injury.

His replacement, James McCarthy, nearly gave Rooney a chance and O’Halloran nearly stole Hart again, but Celtic repelled St Johnstone’s late pressure.

Jota and Mikey Johnston nearly doubled the lead in the final stages, but were repulsed by a challenge from Liam Gordon and a save from Zander Clark, respectively.

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