Dundee United 0 Celtic 2
Ronny Deila captured his first trophy as Celtic manager as the Hoops beat 10-man Dundee United 2-0 in the Scottish League Cup final at Hampden Park.
The Norwegian boss targeted the domestic treble when he took over from Neil Lennon last summer and part one was completed with goals from Kris Commons and substitute James Forrest.
The returning Commons opened the scoring in the 28th minute as Sean Dillon sat in the dressing room getting treatment for a leg knock before the United skipper was shown a straight red card in the 56th minute for a lunge at Emilio Izaguirre.
Three players - two from United - were sent off when the teams met last week in their William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final clash at Tannadice but the home side held out for a 1-1 draw.
However, this time Celtic took advantage with Commons’ replacement, Forrest, steering in number two in the 79th minute although the substitute had a penalty saved by Radoslaw Cierzniak with five minutes remaining.
The two teams will meet again in their cup replay at Celtic Park on Wednesday night, before meeting again in the Scottish Premiership next week and United will need to keep 11 on the pitch if they are to have a chance in either game, although nothing looks like stopping Deila in his treble quest.
It was Celtic who carried the early threat.
In the fourth minute defender Virgil van Dijk, cleared to play after his red card from last week was rescinded, got his shoulder to Anthony Stokes’ corner but Dillon headed clear off the line.
Then a slack pass back by Callum Morris was intercepted by Parkhead striker Leigh Griffiths who rounded Cierzniak only to hit the side-netting, the angle proving too tight.
After a crunching tackle on Van Dijk which left him hobbling, Dillon had to go off for further treatment, leaving the Tannadice side with 10 men and in his absence Celtic scored.
Stokes cross from the left was met on the volley by Commons and although Cierzniak did well to tip the shot onto the post, the Hoops player reacted quickly to slam the ball into the net from six yards out.
Dillon was off for five minutes and it appeared he was to be replaced by Blair Spittal but the Irishman emerged from the tunnel to go back on.
In the 36th minute Cierzniak touched a powerful low drive from Commons round the post for a corner which United defended.
Seconds later in a swift break, Ryan Dow went down in the Celtic box under pressure from Hoops skipper Scott Brown but referee Bobby Madden ignored vociferous United penalty claims.
The first half ended with Cierzniak making another save from Commons and they started the second half looking to put United away.
In the 50th minute, a deflected drive from Mario Bilate, in for the suspended Nadir Ciftci, on the break drew a decent save from Celtic keeper Craig Gordon.
However, United’s chances were dealt another blow when Dillon was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Izaguirre and although the Tannadice men complained it was more through frustration than a sense of injustice.
Bilate made way for Henri Anier but the Premiership leaders continued to swarm around the United box.
Celtic midfielder Stefan Johansen grazed the post with a close-range flick from a Griffiths cross before the former Wolves striker was replaced by John Guidetti, with Forrest on for Commons.
The Parkhead side kept on knocking.
A Jason Denayer header from a Johansen cross went just over the bar before United midfielder Paul Paton was replaced by Chris Erskine.
Celtic’s second goal was all but inevitable and it came when Johansen and Guidetti combined with the latter laying the ball off to Forrest who curled it in from the edge of the box.
There was no argument in the 85th minute when Forrest was bundled off the ball by Dixon inside the box.
Cierzniak, who saved a spot-kick from Griffiths last week, saved from Forrest after the Hoops winger had argued with Guidetti to take the penalty, but by then the green and white ribbons were on the cup.