Kyogo Furuhashi strikes twice as Celtic rallies to win League Cup final

Kyogo Furuhashi scored twice as Celtic came from behind to beat Hibernian 2-1 in the Scottish League Cup final on Sunday to win its first trophy of the Ange Postecoglou era.

The match came to life after a cagey first half that saw Celtic’s David Turnbull hobble off with an injury.

Skipper Paul Hanlon headed Hibs into the lead in the 51st minute with his side’s first shot on target, but Japan forward Furuhashi, returning from a hamstring injury, evened the score 60 seconds later after getting beyond the Hibs defense to meet a lofted ball from Callum McGregor.

The speedy striker scored under similar circumstances in the 72nd minute, bringing down a quickly taken free kick from Tom Rogic and lobbing the ball over Hibs goalkeeper Matt Macey for his 16th goal this season.

Celtic fans, who had no silverware to celebrate last season, chanted Postecoglou’s name in the final stages and the team survived a few late scares as the former Australia manager, who left Yokohama F. Marinos to take over at Celtic this year, delivered silverware in his first opportunity.

“From the moment I arrived, I’ve had my head down,” Postecoglou told the BBC. “I’ve done the things I believed would set this club back on the track it should be on. This isn’t a club that should go years without any trophies.

“My first task when I took the role was to give the fans hope. I couldn’t guarantee success, but I could give them hope. I feel privileged to be part of this football club.”

The intensity ratcheted up immediately after the interval. Hanlon made an excellent sliding block on Furuhashi before opening the scoring moments later. The defender held off Carl Starfelt to head in Martin Boyle’s corner.

Hampden was shrouded in green smoke when Celtic instantly tied the score. The Hibs defense was looking for an offside flag while Furuhashi slotted a left-footed shot inside Macey’s near post.

The winner came after Hanlon was penalized for catching Liel Abada with his arm in an aerial challenge just inside the Celtic half. Rogic spotted the opportunity and sent the ball over the Hibs defense for Furuhashi to lob Macey with his right foot.

Postecoglou said it was an emotional victory as Celtic made it six League Cup wins in eight seasons.

“I know the significance of it and it’s been a hell of a ride so far,” Postecoglou said.

“I’m just so proud of this group of players, they’ve been the most resilient group I’ve ever come across with what’s been thrown at us the last five or six months and I’m super pleased they get their reward.

“We’re still at the beginning and we want to enjoy this because this group of players has been through an awful lot and yet risen to this challenge — including today. We just want to keep going.” Celtic, which second in the Premiership and seven points behind Rangers with a game in hand, visits St Mirren on Wednesday.

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