Scottish League Cup - Semi-Final
Ross County3Celtic1

Scottish League Cup: Ross County 3-1 Celtic

Paul Quinn (centre) after scoring the second goal
Ross County made it to their second major final

Ross County created a massive upset by beating 10-man Celtic in a frenetic League Cup semi-final at Hampden Park.

Gary Mackay-Steven scored after only 26 seconds to give Celtic the lead, but the turning point came when Efe Ambrose was sent off for fouling County's Alex Schalk in the box.

Martin Woods scored from the penalty, Paul Quinn headed a second after the break and Schalk hammered in the third.

Scott Fox saved Leigh Griffiths' penalty to secure a place in the final.

County seized the day once Ambrose departed and deserved what was a momentous victory for the club.

This time last year, they were rock bottom of the Premiership, six points adrift. Now they are sitting fourth in the league and in the League Cup final for the first time in their existence, where they will face Hibernian on 13 March.

All this came despite County looking a shambles in the early minutes. Celtic were ahead in the blink of an eye.

Callum McGregor played a ball through the giant chasm between County's centre-halves and in motored Griffiths, who ran on freely before squaring to Mackay-Steven.

That goal could have been followed by others. Griffiths had the County defence tied in knots in the minutes that followed.

Ambrose twice went close with headers, the second of them kicked off the line by Richard Foster. It was so easy for Celtic and then, in a sudden twist, it became impossibly hard.

In that fateful moment, Mikael Lustig allowed Schalk to get away from him and on to a loose ball in the Celtic penalty area. Ambrose was slow to appreciate the danger and, in his attempt to recover his ground, his knee came into contact with Schalk, who went over.

It was a penalty and it was a red card for Ambrose. Storm Efe had done its damage again and Woods sent Craig Gordon the wrong way from the spot.

Celtic, to their credit, had the best of the rest of the half. They brought on their new recruit, Erik Sviatchenko, for the unlucky McGregor, to plug the Ambrose gap and create some trouble for County.

Stuart Armstrong and Lustig had half-chances but could not capitalise. When the next opportunity fell to County, they were infinitely more ruthless.

McIntyre's team went at Celtic and got their reward. From a corner that carried to the back post, Andrew Davies nodded precisely to Quinn, who buried his own header past Gordon.

The goalkeeper complained bitterly that he had been impeded as the delivery came into the box - he was booked for his trouble - but he would have been better off castigating his defenders, who allowed two free headers so close to his goal.

Efe Ambrose (right)
Efe Ambrose (right) was red carded for clipping Alex Schalk in the box

Celtic's misery - and vulnerability - was seen again just after the hour, when Woods played Schalk through on goal and the Dutch Under-21 striker thumped his finish into the top corner.

Again, Celtic's defence was a soft touch, easy prey to a simple pass through its heart.

Even when Celtic got a very fortunate penalty, given against Brian Graham for handball, Griffiths - of all people - could not convert. Indeed, Celtic had to rely on Gordon making a fine save from Jackson Irvine to avoid a fourth.

It hardly mattered. County created history none the less. For Ronnie Deila's Celtic, this was a catastrophic day and an abrupt end to their treble dream.

For Jim McIntyre and his players, a day of days.

Line-ups

Ross County

  • 1Fox
  • 2FraserBooked at 44mins
  • 43Quinn
  • 15Davies
  • 12FosterBooked at 90mins
  • 8McShaneBooked at 68mins
  • 18MurdochBooked at 17minsSubstituted forFranksat 28'minutes
  • 36Irvine
  • 26WoodsBooked at 80mins
  • 7GardyneSubstituted forBoyceat 83'minutes
  • 23SchalkSubstituted forGrahamat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Reckord
  • 5Boyd
  • 9Graham
  • 10Boyce
  • 17Franks
  • 21Woods
  • 24De Vita

Celtic

  • 1GordonBooked at 49mins
  • 23LustigBooked at 58mins
  • 4AmbroseBooked at 13mins
  • 20Boyata
  • 63Tierney
  • 6BittonSubstituted forBrownat 67'minutes
  • 25JohansenBooked at 90mins
  • 16Mackay-Steven
  • 42McGregorSubstituted forSviatchenkoat 14'minutes
  • 14ArmstrongSubstituted forForrestat 79'minutes
  • 9GriffithsBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 3Izaguirre
  • 7Ciftci
  • 8Brown
  • 26Bailly
  • 28Sviatchenko
  • 49Forrest
  • 64Nesbitt
Referee:
Craig Thomson
Attendance:
22,130

Match Stats

Home TeamRoss CountyAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home7
Away14
Shots on Target
Home6
Away8
Corners
Home3
Away14
Fouls
Home18
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Ross County 3, Celtic 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Ross County 3, Celtic 1.

Booking

Paul Quinn (Ross County) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Stefan Johansen (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Stefan Johansen (Celtic).

Liam Boyce (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Scott Fox.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Scott Fox.

Attempt saved. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Jackson Irvine (Ross County) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Mikael Lustig (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Martin Woods (Ross County).

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Martin Woods (Ross County).

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Martin Woods.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Ian McShane.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Liam Boyce replaces Michael Gardyne.

Attempt missed. Kieran Tierney (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Attempt saved. Jackson Irvine (Ross County) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Booking

Martin Woods (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Gary Mackay-Steven (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Martin Woods (Ross County).

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. James Forrest replaces Stuart Armstrong.

Gary Mackay-Steven (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Andrew Davies (Ross County).

Penalty saved! Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, left footed shot saved in the bottom right corner.

Penalty conceded by Brian Graham (Ross County) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Paul Quinn.

Erik Sviatchenko (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Brian Graham (Ross County).

Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).

Martin Woods (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jackson Irvine (Ross County).

Attempt missed. Mikael Lustig (Celtic) header from very close range is just a bit too high following a corner.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Paul Quinn.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Brian Graham replaces Alex Schalk.

Attempt saved. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Dedryck Boyata (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal