Match ends, Rangers 0, Celtic 1.
Ten-man Celtic survived a Rangers onslaught - including a missed penalty - to clinch their fourth Scottish League Cup in a row and 10th consecutive domestic trophy.
Christopher Jullien slammed in the winner with Celtic's only shot on target, though the French defender appeared a yard offside.
But three minutes later in a frantic contest, Jeremie Frimpong was sent off after fouling Alfredo Morelos in the box, only for Fraser Forster to save the Colombian's penalty.
That was only one of a series of brilliant saves by the Celtic goalkeeper, who spectacularly denied Ryan Jack before the break as well as Morelos on three occasions.
The Rangers striker wasted a number of other opportunities including one in stoppage time as, despite finding the net 25 times this season, he remains without a goal against Celtic.
Neil Lennon's side demonstrated impressive resilience as they further burnish their dominance of Scottish football and are now 31 domestic cup matches unbeaten.
'Rangers seize final by the throat'
To say that Rangers were dominant in the opening half would be the understatement of the season. They should have been at least one goal, and probably more, ahead such was their control. Rangers came out of the traps with aggression, energy and intent. They pressed Celtic into a state of distraction. Not only could the champions not raise any kind of gallop in attack, they could scarcely keep hold of what little of the ball they had.
Inspired by the desire and intelligence of Jack and Glen Kamara, Rangers seized the final by the throat from the first whistle. They forced three corners inside seven minutes and won the header each time. Connor Goldson had two reasonable chances to put them ahead. Filip Helander won the third one as Celtic's defence looked in serious trouble.
There was more to come from Gerrard's team. Not a goal, but chance after chance. Jack launched a rocket from miles out and Forster, at full stretch, tipped it away brilliantly. Rangers' chances and Forster's saves became a recurring theme.
Incredibly, Goldson had another look from a corner just 16 minutes in. Soon after, Morelos - no goal in 10 Old Firm games - saw his first shot of the final squirm under Forster's body. Celtic got lucky there. Jonny Hayes was first to the loose ball and hacked clear as Joe Aribo loitered.
None of Celtic's go-to men were at the races, not Scott Brown, not Callum McGregor, not James Forrest, not Ryan Christie. Odsonne Edouard was not fit enough to start the final - he was on the bench - and how they missed his physicality. The fact that Rangers were utterly controlling things without the injured Steven Davis was all the more impressive.
They needed a goal, though. And it refused to come. That was their undoing, their horror. Morelos got himself free again but his shot was met with a low save from Forster. Kristoffer Ajer had a header for Celtic that reminded you that they still existed in the game but the normal flow continued directly with more Rangers chances on the back of more Celtic errors forced from them by the blue storm.
Morelos skipped away from Ajer down the right and, on the angle, fired directly at Forster. Ten minutes later he went again, but this time Forster kicked away his attempt with his right foot. Morelos really should have put that one away.
Celtic were being schooled, their only saving grace being that they were somehow level. They couldn't live with the intensity of their rivals. At the break, Mohamed Elyounoussi, anonymous and clearly still unfit after a month out, was replaced by Mikey Johnston but the theme carried on as before.
Only now it became madcap, something that belonged more on a movie set than a football stadium. Early in the new half, Aribo found Morelos at the back post and his touch practically carried along the face of Celtic's goal-line to safety. It was a surreal moment. Next, after excellent work from Morelos and woeful Celtic defending, Aribo had his shot hoofed away by the colossus in Celtic's goal.
A few minutes later, another golden moment for Rangers and another for the one-man drama, Morelos. His close-range header had to find the net - just had to - but when it came back up off the turf Forster palmed it away. Three massive moments in five minutes and still no Rangers goal.
Then there was a huge penalty shout for Gerrard's side. Morelos tried to bring the ball down in the box only to crumple with Brown in close proximity. Footage showed the Celtic captain catch the Colombian in the back of the leg, but no award was given as Morelos clattered to the turf.
'Topping the bizarre-o-meter'
This outrageously compelling and consistently trippy final then went up another notch on the bizarre-o-meter. Having been out-fought, out-thought and out-played, Celtic went ahead when Jullien slammed home from Christie's free-kick. Not only was Jullien offside when he scored, so was Edouard, on the field in the midst of this Celtic crisis, and one other. Three men offside and yet referee Willie Collum and his officials said the goal was good.
Rangers were shell-shocked for three minutes, then had their spirits soaring when they won a penalty and saw Frimpong red-carded in the act of fouling Morelos, and then returned to the ranks of the haunted when the striker had his penalty saved by the unbeatable Celtic goalkeeper.
There was no doubting Frimpong's offence and no arguing with his dismissal. Morelos got in behind him and the young man panicked. So, too, did Rangers. James Tavernier, the usual penalty taker, ceded responsibility to Morelos - what an enormous talking point that will be - and Morelos botched it. His shot was unconvincing, Forster saving to his right.
The goalkeeper was off his line - most of them are in such situations - and that will only add to the torment Rangers are going to experience now. The 10 men might even have made it 2-0 when Edouard put Johnston clear on the counter-attack only for the winger to push his shot wide.
Rangers had a late claim for a second penalty when Johnston and - who else? - Morelos collided in the box, but nothing was given. Later still - two minutes into injury time - Morelos peeled off his marker in the box and whipped his shot across the face of Forster's goal. The Colombian looked forlorn. He never, ever stopped trying, but his was a nightmarish final of multiple missed opportunities.
Celtic survived until the end and won their 10th straight trophy in the most unimaginable circumstances. Rangers will scream and holler about the illegitimacy of the winner - with due cause - but they will also double over in pain at all those chances they created and all those chances that were saved by Forster, Celtic's redoubtable giant.
Man of the match - Fraser Forster
Forster shouldn't just get one winner's medal, he should get all of Celtic's winners' medals. Save upon save, defiance upon defiance. He broke Morelos' heart out there.
'I didn't even celebrate the goal' - reaction
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard speaking to BT Sport: "I thought we were really good, we performed well. But we got one big moment wrong. We never defended a set-piece. Now, there's a good possibility two or three of them were offside, but we've still got to defend it better."
Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "Fraser Forster was outstanding. He made some unbelievable saves, world class saves. I didn't even celebrate it [the goal]. I was too wrapped up in how we were playing and how we were going to get a proper foothold in the game.
"We weren't great today but we still won and that's what cup football is all about."
- 5HelanderSubstituted forKaticat 84'minutes
- 18KamaraBooked at 41minsSubstituted forDefoeat 71'minutes
- 17AriboBooked at 71minsSubstituted forBarkerat 74'minutes
- 37ArfieldBooked at 65mins
- 30FrimpongBooked at 63mins
- 35AjerBooked at 65mins
- 42McGregorBooked at 77mins
- 49ForrestSubstituted forBittonat 66'minutes
- 27ElyounoussiSubstituted forJohnstonat 45'minutes
- 16MorganSubstituted forEdouardat 59'minutes
- William Collum
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Rangers 0, Celtic 1.
Foul by Borna Barisic (Rangers).
Lewis Morgan (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the left.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Christopher Jullien.
Attempt missed. Scott Arfield (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.
Substitution, Rangers. Nikola Katic replaces Filip Helander because of an injury.
Foul by Borna Barisic (Rangers).
Ryan Christie (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).
Ryan Christie (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Scott Brown.
Attempt missed. Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Callum McGregor (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Borna Barisic (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Callum McGregor (Celtic).
Attempt blocked. Scott Brown (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Substitution, Rangers. Brandon Barker replaces Joe Aribo.
Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).