'It's important to enjoy these moments': Postecoglou urges players to savour Scottish League Cup Final win over Rangers

'It's important to enjoy these moments': Postecoglou urges players to savour Scottish League Cup Final win over Rangers

CELTIC boss Ange Postecoglou has urged his players to enjoy the moment after Celtic lifted the Viaplay League Cup with a 2-1 win over Rangers.

Goals from Kyogo Furuhashi either side of half-time gave Celtic a 2-0 lead after 56 minutes but Alfredo Morelos' strike just after the hour set up a nervy finish.

The Ibrox side pushed for a leveller as Celtic struggled to find their usual composure and were forced to take the direct approach in the final quarter.

However, despite Sead Haksabanovic spurning a couple of chances late on, the Hoops held on to their lead to retain the Scottish League Cup.

'Enjoy your success'

Postecoglou said that while his focus now turned to next Sunday's trip to St Mirren in the league, he wanted his players to savour the success they have worked so hard for.

"It is important you enjoy these moments and I let them enjoy it because you're going to ask them to front up again on Tuesday," he told Viaplay Sports UK.

"At the back of my mind, whatever's happening tonight, I know we've got St Mirren next week away, which is not an easy trip.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou lifts the Viaplay Scottish League Cup trophy (Image: by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

"But if I start talking to them about that and they don't enjoy this, they're going to start questioning why they're doing what they're doing,

"They work awfully hard for me every day, not just the players but the staff, and they need to appreciate it and get the rewards and that's about tonight.

"My instructions to them are always the same — you enjoy your night and enjoy your success because in 24 hours' time I'm going to ask you to go again.

Celtic players celebrate at the final whistle (Image: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

"If they don't have that period of enjoyment then it's going to be hard for me to do it.

"But they're a good group, they're really ambitious.

"We've still got a long way to go as a football club, we still know we can improve but I think winning things helps that improvement."

Kyogo at the double

Celtic started the brighter with the best of their chances falling to Jota, who drew a good save from Allan McGregor with an effort from the edge of the box.

However, Rangers grew into the game, with Cameron Carter-Vickers' providing a crucial intervention to block a James Tavernier cross into the box with Fashion Sakala lurking.

Kyogo had a hat-trick of chances but was unable to find the target, however just as it looked as though he might be having an off day, he turned in Greg Taylor's cross with half-time looming.

Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates after scoring the opening goal (Image: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

After the interval, Rangers missed the chance to equalise early on after Ryan Kent hit the post and Sakala could only find the side netting with the rebound.

Those misses looked to be costly as Kyogo made it 2-0, turning in Reo Hatate's cross from close range to complete a brace, just as he did in last year's final victory against Hibs.

However, Morelos pulled his side back into the tie when he fired home Tavernier's free kick after Alistair Johnston had handled on the left wing.

Alfredo Morelos celebrates after pulling a goal back for Rangers (Image: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic's backs were against the wall somewhat but Rangers failed to make their period of dominance pay.

First, set-piece specialist Tavernier struck the wall with a freekick from the edge of the box before both Antonio Colak and Borna Barisic failed to react to a dangerous ball into the area.

However, Celtic also had chances to kill the game off, McGregor getting down low to turn a Matt O'Riley effort around the post either side of those late Haksabanovic efforts.

Celtic fans show their support during the Viaplay Scottish League Cup Final at Hampden Park (Image: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

It proved academic though as Celtic saw out the win to seal a third trophy under Postecoglou and take the first step towards a potential treble.

The Hoops are nine points clear of Rangers in the league with 12 games remaining, while they face Hearts in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals at Tynecastle on March 11.

Holders Rangers host Championship side Raith Rovers in the competition a day later.