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A Kyogo Furuhashi double won the Viaplay Cup for Celtic in a pulsating 2-1 win over Rangers at Hampden Park.

A minute before the end of a breathless first half, the predatory Japan striker tapped in from close range before netting a similar effort in the 56th minute to put Ange Postecoglou’s side in a commanding position.

Gers striker Alfredo Morelos reduced the deficit 10 minutes later but a spirited Light Blues fightback fell short and indeed Celtic could have stretched their lead in the closing moments.

It was a first defeat for Michael Beale since taking over as Gers boss in November and it keeps Celtic on course for a domestic treble.

The champions have a nine-point lead over their city rivals at the top of the cinch Premiership and are still in the Scottish Cup and it looks like they will take all the beating this season.

The Ibrox camp had worried all week about injuries to key men but in the event Malik Tillman and John Lundstram were passed fit – January signings Nicolas Raskin and Todd Cantwell started on the bench – and Ryan Jack and Scott Arfield started on the bench.

Midfielder Aaron Mooy recovered from a knock and returned along with Furuhashi with Matt O’Riley and South Korea’s Oh Hyeon-gyu dropping out.

Rangers v Celtic – Viaplay Sports Cup – Final – Hampden Park
Kyogo Furuhashi scored a goal in each half in Celtic’s Viaplay Cup final win over Rangers (Jane Barlow/PA)

After a minute’s applause in tribute to Hibernian owner Ron Gordon who died recently – which was disrupted by Gers supporters breaking into song – a frenetic match began amid a deafening noise.

In the 21st minute, Allan McGregor was forced into a decent save from Portuguese winger Jota’s drive from distance.

Then, Hoops defender Cameron Carter-Vickers cleared a cut-back from Gers skipper James Tavernier and Celtic had to defend three successive corners.

At the other end, Furuhashi curled a shot from the edge of the box over the bar before he headed a cross from right-back Alistair Johnston over.

However, Mooy sent left-back Greg Taylor running down the left and when his cut-back was missed at the front post by Daizen Maeda, Furuhashi knocked into an empty net from five yards for his 23rd goal of the season.

Rangers v Celtic – Viaplay Sports Cup – Final – Hampden Park
Alfredo Morelos pulled a goal back in the Viaplay Cup final defeat by Celtic (Andrew Milligan/PA)

It was a deserved interval lead for Celtic but five minutes after the restart Gers attacker Kent beat Hoops keeper Joe Hart with a left-footed shot but the ball clipped the far post and Fashion Sakala hit the side-netting with the rebound.

However, it was Celtic who turned the screw and after the Gers defence had been opened up again Japan midfielder Reo Hatate cut the ball back for Furuhashi to again knock the ball into an empty net.

Rangers, sensing the game was heading out of their reach, fought back and when Tavernier’s free-kick from the left fell to Morelos at the back post, his right-footed strike had enough to beat Hart.

Both sides made impending changes with Old Firm debutants Cantwell and Raskin, as well as Jack, on for Lundstram, Kamara and Tillman while O’Riley and Liel Abada replaced Mooy and Jota for Celtic.

The match had swung towards Rangers.

A deflected free-kick from the edge of the box from Tavernier hit the top of the bar and went behind.

Celtic defended the corner but soon found themselves under pressure again as Rangers kept pressing.

More changes as Oh and Tomoki Iwata came on for Furuhashi and Hatate to make their Glasgow derby debuts with Morelos making way for Antonio Colak.

As the game stretched, McGregor saved from another Celtic substitute, Sead Haksabanovic, and O’Riley before Haksabanovic missed a great chance but the trophy returned to Parkhead again.