By Saikat Mandal

18th Apr, 2022 | 5:10pm

BBC pundit reacts to Rangers winning goal v Celtic in Scottish Cup semi-final

Neil McCann has hailed the fitness of Rangers players as “exceptional” after they scored the winning goal against Celtic.

The Gers booked a place in the final of the Scottish Cup after beating the Bhoys 2-1 at Hampden Park on Sunday.

After a stalemate first-half, Greg Taylor gave Celtic the lead. Scott Arfield equalised shortly afterwards and in the extra-time, Carl Starfelt turned Calvin Bassey’s cross into his own net.

It initially appeared like it was scored by Fashion Sakala, but he did a great job in making that run that led to the goal.

“Rangers’ levels of fitness have been exceptional. You don’t get that own goal unless you make a run. Sakala breaks his neck to try and get a touch but he does enough,” McCann said on Sportsound, as relayed by the BBC website.

Fitness

McCann is absolutely spot on here.

The fitness of these players is simply admirable. Giovanni van Bronckhorst names nearly the same team that won against Braga in the midweek.

The match on Thursday was intense, and it lasted for 120 minutes. Rangers players looked knackered after the game.

They hardly had got time to rest and recover fully ahead of such a massive game. In contrast, Celtic got a lot of time to prepare fully for this Scottish Cup semi-final clash.

To come from a goal down, and snatch the winner in the extra time once again not only shows the level of energy of these players, but also their mental fortitude.

Rangers players looked more determined to win this particular tie, especially against Celtic, having lost their previous two encounters in the season already.

The Bears have now got a golden opportunity to lift a domestic cup for the first time in 11 years. The Dutchman should feel proud of this tremendous effort.

In other Rangers news, Tavernier himself identified two current players who deserve huge praise from supporters.