CLUB legend Pat Bonner believes Celtic’s ‘class’ earned them a cup final spot as their greater strength in depth saw off bitter rivals Rangers on Sunday.
The Hoops struggled to find the goal to match their attacking play at Hampden until Moussa Dembele’s strike won a riveting Betfred Cup semi-final with just three minutes left.
The French youngster’s clincher was laid on by Leigh Griffiths, who sprang from the bench with 20 minutes remaining to help seal the victory for the Scottish champions.
And, with fellow second-half replacement Stuart Armstrong also heavily involved as Celtic sought a winner, Bonner believes that greater available quality paid off in the end.
The former Republic of Ireland keeper said: “It was a tough game but it was a great game, I really enjoyed it.
“Celtic had the class in that forward line and Dembele’s finish was superb.
“Leigh Griffiths made a big difference when he came on, Stuart Armstrong made a big difference when he came on.
“Celtic had the opportunity to bring on quality players, who created something for the team.”
Meanwhile, former Rangers striker Billy Dodds insists his old club came close to getting things ‘tactically spot-on’ against Celtic.
But he still reckons the Hoops are now a cut above their Old Firm rivals.
Rangers manager Mark Warburton claimed after Sunday’s encounter that the narrow and late defeat proved the gap was closing between the pair in the wake of last month’s 5-1 thrashing at Parkhead.
And Dodds believes the Ibrox outfit showed at the weekend they had learned lessons from that embarrassing loss to their rivals.
The Ross County assistant manager said: “Rangers did their job tactically, I have to say.
“If they had gone with [Lee] Wallace high and wide on one side and [James] Tavernier on the other, and left their centre-halves exposed they could have been in trouble.
“But he [Warburton] recognised that and stemmed that and put [Lee] Hodson in and had Barrie McKay filling in when Wallace went forward as well.
“It nearly paid off, so tactically nearly spot-on for Rangers.
“But you have to say, Celtic have moved on to another level, haven’t they?”
However, asked whether he agreed with Warburton’s assessment that his team had narrowed the gap on their bitter rivals, Dodds added to BBC Scotland: “The scoreline has certainly shrunk but in chances created probably not.”