RECAP: CELTIC 1 - 2 RANGERS
Maurice Edu will proudly be able to display another medal on his trophy mantle after Rangers' extra-time victory over hated rivals Celtic in the Scottish League Cup final on Sunday afternoon at Hampden Park in Glasgow.
Edu started for Rangers once again and went the full 120 minutes in the heart-stopping victory.
This cup triumph is the second consecutive League Cup for the Light Blues and their 27th overall.
For Edu, this marks yet another winner's medal he has collected since joining Rangers in August 2008. The impressive list consists of two Scottish Premier League titles and two League Cups. Rangers also won the 2009 Scottish Cup however Edu was injured and unavailable for the final.
The victory was of huge importance to Rangers who had been kicked around by the Hoops in three of the previous four encounters they had this season.
The Old Firm rivals will meet up one more time this season in what will be a pivotal match-up in the SPL title chase.
There was plenty of drama heading into this affair following the two teams' Scottish Cup replay which ended in such ugly fashion.
Before the match, both police and local church leaders implored the two squads to exercise calm and restaint during Sunday's final. The two clubs evidently heeded those words as there were no major incidents during the tense encounter.
Steven Davis opened the scoring for Rangers in the 23rd minute when he won possession from the Celtic defense and started charging right up the middle toward the Celtic area. Davis then booted a shot from just outside the area that rolled just inside the right post giving the Light Blues the early advantage.
But the current SPL leaders answered back seven minutes later when Emilio Izaguirre's cross from the left side deflected off of Rangers front man Kyle Lafferty to Georgios Samaras who flicked on a header toward the far post that was smacked in with a header by Joe Ledley.
Minutes later, Rangers thought they had a penalty kick in their favor after Nikica Jelavic looked as if he was brought down in the area. The referee initially pointed to the spot but changed his mind after consulting with the linesman who opined that Jelavic should instead receive a yellow for simulation.
Neither team was able to break through for a goal in the second 45 minutes setting up an extra 30 minutes of soccer for two teams who had already faced each other a whopping 540 minutes on the current campaign.
In the end, Rangers used a bit of guile and luck to score the game winning goal. A 98th minute foul led to a quick free kick taken by Vladimir Weiss. The former Manchester City man played a ball into Jelavic who outraced two Celtic defenders to send a shot toward goal.
The Croatian's shot was slightly redirected by Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster but still bounded toward goal. The ball then glanced off the right post before spinning toward the left post and ultimately trickling over the line.
A Madjid Bougherra second half injury had forced Edu to take up the Algerian's spot at right back but the US international and the Rangers defense were up to the task anchoring the back line the final 22 minutes to secure the win.
Rangers next return to action in two weeks' time when they host Dundee United on April 2nd in SPL action.