Derek McInnes Jubilant As Kilmarnock Eliminate Celtic From The Viaplay Cup

Derek McInnes Jubilant As Kilmarnock Eliminate Celtic From The Viaplay Cup

Kilmarnock 1-0 Celtic
Watkins, 59

By Callum McFadden from Rugby Park

Derek McInnes has challenged his Kilmarnock team to dream of Viaplay Cup success after they eliminated Celtic from the Viaplay Cup to reach the quarter-final of the competition. A second-half goal from summer recruit Marley Watkins on the hour mark was enough to secure the victory and ensure that Killie have defeated both Glasgow giants in the space of three weeks.

It was a day to forget for Brendan Rodgers and Celtic who started the game tentatively at Rugby Park as shown by Joe Hart conceding an early corner after failing to read a back pass from new signing Gustaf Lagerbeilke inside the opening two minutes.

The opening quarter of the game was played at a frantic pace before starting to settle down in tempo. The best chance of the first half for Celtic fell to Kyogo Furahashi who forced Kilmarnock goalkeeper Will Dennis to save a low, driven shot with his feet at his near post.

Kilmarnock could easily have led at the break themselves when Corrie Ndaba headed wide from close range in stoppage time following an impressive cross from former Celtic youth player Stuart Findlay.

The second half started much as the first half had ended with Liel Abada crossing into the Kilmarnock penalty box only for no Celtic player to be on hand to finish while Kilmarnock had an opportunity via Kyle Magennis who saw his half-volley saved by Joe Hart.

The breakthrough came on the cusp of the hour mark when Marley Watkins got on the end of a Daniel Armstrong cross to convert from close range. Based on today’s performance, it is clear to see why Armstrong is a fan favourite at Rugby Park as he caused both Celtic full-backs problems whenever he was brought into the game by his teammates.

In the last half hour, Celtic brought on David Turnbull and Yang as they pushed for an equaliser but despite the changes, there continued to be a lack of clear-cut chances created by Celtic even with clear dominance in possession in comparison to Kilmarnock.

Derek McInnes introduced club captain Kyle Vassell to proceedings in the last fifteen minutes with the aim of seeing the game out with his hold-up play. He carried out his role effectively and ensured that Brendan Rodgers’ unbeaten domestic cup record of 24 games was wiped out at the first opportunity in his second spell.

WFi player of the match: Daniel Armstrong (Kilmarnock)

Kilmarnock: Dennis, Mayo, Deas, Findlay, Armstrong (Mckenzie, 81), Watson, Lyons, Magennis (Donnelly, 81)  Ndaba, Kennedy, Watkins (Vassell, 75)

Substitutes: O’Hara, Wright, Davies, Donnelly, Polworth, McKenzie, Murray, Wales, Vassell.

Celtic: Hart, Ralston, Lagerbielke, Nawrocki, Taylor, McGregor, Holm (Turnbull, 65), O’Riley (Haksabanovic, 75),  Abada (Yang, 65)  Maeda, Kyogo.

Substitutes: Bain, Scales, Haksabanovic, Yang, Turnbull, Kwon, Tomoki, Bernabei, Forrest.

Brendan Rodgers:

You have to give all the credit to Kilmarnock. They defended strong and got blocks in when they had to and took one of the few chances they had in the game. We have to analyse ourselves and our quality wasn’t good enough in the game.

“There’s no excuses, we weren’t good enough today. Hopefully, I think you can see we need that quality and we have had quality go out of the building.

“So we definitely need that quality in but we will work very hard to get the players in that can improve us and make us better and that is something we will do over the period of time now between now and the close of the window.”

Derek McInnes:

Two things we said before a ball had rolled was that [we must show] real belief that we can win the Cup, the same belief that I had, and the second part of it was to treat the game as a cup final. We don’t get a trophy for winning today but we had to treat it like a cup final.

“But now that we have beaten Celtic, we have to take the confidence from it. We are at home to Hearts which is a tough game. Hearts will be another team who will have aspiration to win the trophy.

“There is a demand on that club but we want to put a demand on ourselves to go one better than last season, and get into the final. I have enjoyed the day, the team will take a lot of confidence from it but there is no point in winning today if we don’t go and win it today. No one will really remember that in years to come unless we go and win it.”