Canada’s Scott Arfield scored a decisive goal in Sunday’s Old Firm Derby between Glasgow Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park. The age-old rivals clashed for the fourth time this season when meeting in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup. With Hearts beating Hibs in a historic Edinburgh Derby in the other semi-final that was played 24 hours previously, the race was on to meet the Jambos in the final on Saturday 21 May.
The game swung back and forth, going to extra time before the Rangers eventually prevailed courtesy of an emphatic 2-1 scoreline. Millions of sports fans from across the world tuned into the cup action from Glasgow that was shown live on television, with armchair followers in Canada showing particular interest. They wanted to see how talented midfielder and Canadian national team hero Scott Arfield would perform. Although they had to wait a little longer than expected, with Arfield starting on the bench, we already know that good things come to those who wait.
Arfield entered the field of play on 75 minutes when replacing Nigerian midfielder Joe Aribo and 33-year-old had an immediate impact on the game, finding the net less than three minutes later. Despite Celtic starting the match as the hot favorites for victory with all major sports betting sites, it was Rangers who came out on top, booking their slot in the final.
Arfield made an immediate impact
The Gers will now have an opportunity to gift new manager Giovanni van Bronkhorst his first piece of silverware since replacing former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard earlier in the season. But the victors were made to earn their place in the Scottish Cup final by an opponent that had beaten them just a fortnight previously with a 2-1 score at Ibrox in the Scottish Premiership. That result all but handed the Bhoys the league title this season; meaning the Rangers had to step it up and make this competition their domestic priority.
They did just that but as any follower of the beautiful game already knows, particularly those with a passion for the game in Scotland, nothing comes cheap in the Old Firm. Rangers had started the better of the two teams, but it was Celtic that found the opening goal with a deflected strike from Greg Taylor in 64 minutes, breaking the deadlock. That goal against the run of play may have shocked the Gers, but their fans kept the faith, creating a sensational atmosphere in the national stadium and helping roar the light blues back into the match.
Gers eventually got level with a stunning goal from Arfield, who climbed off the bench to turn the tide. He may have slipped on almost unnoticed, but Scott started as a man possessed. He had missed some great scoring opportunities in the previous game against Braga in the Europa League at Ibrox a few days earlier – another match that went into extra time – so he knew the pressure was on to make up for those errors.
Scott handles the pressure
Arfield is a player who is used to carrying pressure on his shoulders. He had already played 100 times for Rangers, scoring 24 goals, including last season when Rangers won the Scottish Premiership and stopped Celtic’s march to a record 10 in a row. He has also turned out 19 times for Canada through his Toronto-born father, scoring twice. So the burden was nothing new to him and nothing he couldn’t handle. Arfield pounced on a Rangers attack, gathering the ball from Kemar Roofe on the edge of the box and curling a sublime effort past the Celtic goalkeeper and former Manchester City shot-stopper Joe Hart.
Arfield’s goal leveled the scoring at 1-1 and took the game into extra time. With Rangers playing 120 minutes against Braga just three days previous, the general feeling inside Hampden was the boys in blue would tire, but they didn’t. It was quite the opposite.
With the game locked and heading towards penalties, there was one final twist in the tale as Rangers struck a winner through another sub in Fashion Sakala. The Zambian attacker bundled the ball into the net in 114 minutes to win it.As an Amazon Associate, Icy Canada earns from qualifying purchases.