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How Rangers beat Celtic in last Old Firm Scottish Cup final

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Both managers gambled on the fitness of key players for the final – O’Neill starting Lambert, Sutton and Bobo Balde on their return from injury and McLeish staying loyal to De Boer despite the Dutchman’s problems with a broken toe.

However, Caniggia was forced off after only 16 minutes and Hartson headed Celtic ahead before the Argentine could be replaced.

Rangers took only another two minutes to equalise as Lovenkrands, who had also scored in the League Cup final win over Celtic, fired past goalkeeper Rab Douglas.

It was Celtic’s turn to lose a key player, with Lambert limping off shortly before the break, but Balde restored the lead five minutes after half time from short range.

Balde was, though, to concede the free-kick from which Ferguson, earlier denied by a post, curled in Rangers’ second equaliser after 69 minutes.

Tradition has it that the team scoring first in an Old Firm derby rarely loses.

However, Mjallby had already cleared a Fernando Ricksen effort off the line before Lovenkrands met McCann’s cross to prevent the final going to extra time as Celtic were denied a league and cup double.

“I remember the cross and the header like it was yesterday,” Numan said. “It always brings back the good memories.”

Since then, there have been five Old Firm finals – but all in the League Cup.

Rangers won 2-1 the following season, while Celtic have won three of the latest four, including by the same scoreline in February 2023.

However, the pain of that 2002 day remains for Mjallby, as it will for whoever loses on Saturday.

“Playing for Celtic means and meant you are supposed to win trophies,” he added. “Every time you lose, you are distraught.

“It is a crushing feeling if you don’t win and the best feeling in the world if you win.”

The 22 players who start at Hampden Park on Saturday have the chance to etch their name in history, just as Lovenkrands did in May 2002.

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