Parkhead pathway is mapped out thanks to Hendo

CELTIC cup hero Aidan Nesbitt admits the progress of Liam Henderson from promising youngster to first-team star has inspired the next crop of Hoops kids this season.

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Aiden Nesbitt holds aloft the Glasgow Cup, main, after his second-half goal won the final
Aiden Nesbitt holds aloft the Glasgow Cup, main, after his second-half goal won the final

Nesbitt netted the only goal of the game on Monday night as Tommy McIntyre's side beat Old Firm rivals Rangers to lift the Glasgow Cup at Parkhead.

Twelve months ago, it was Henderson who was playing in the same fixture as Rangers won 3-2 at Firhill.

The midfielder has gone on to become a first-team star for Neil Lennon's side in recent months.

And youngster Nesbitt is determined to follow in his compatriot's footsteps.

He said: "It definitely gives everyone positives. Going through the academy, everything is positive at the moment.

"We see Liam getting into the first team and we think 'we have got a chance, we can do it too'. We are all good players, we know we are."

Nesbitt may have been the hero at Celtic Park as the young Hoops emerged victorious but it was a team effort from McIntyre's side as they claimed a deserved win.

The Celts were by far the better outfit as they reclaimed the Under-17 silverware in front of a crowd of around 8000.

The Old Firm clash was played in a raucous atmosphere, with fans setting off smokebombs and flares in the stand as derby day rivalries were resumed.

Nesbitt said: "There were nerves with people not used to the atmosphere. But it is a cup final at Celtic Park and against Rangers. It is difficult to get into the game.

"That was my first time playing at Parkhead. In a game of football you always feel knackered but on a big park like that it really took it out of us.

"Your breathing starts to get heavy and your legs start to feel it. But I thought we dealt with it really well, all the boys are fit."

It was the Hoops fans who would head home happy at the end of a scrappy affair after seeing their side lift the silverware at Parkhead.

It is the first time Celtic have won the tournament since seeing off their Old Firm rivals in 2011.

And Nesbitt reckons the young Hoops more than deserved their success after his second-half strike.

He said: "It was incredible. The first shot came back to me and I just thought 'hit it again'.

"I can't really remember it. You don't often get a second chance so you have got to take it if you do.

"It was a hard game to play in. There was a lot of running, it is a massive pitch. We had a lot of the ball, which I think helped us.

"It was a good atmosphere. We are not used to that but we handled it really well. I thought the boys were excellent."

Nesbitt added: "After half-time, we came out really strong. Rangers did well but, after half-time, we really excelled.

"We were told to keep going and go at them. We started passing the ball a lot better and a lot quicker.

"We were keeping the ball really well in the second half.

"I think we started to tire them out a little and that is when we created openings and got chances."

Football

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