Kilmarnock centre-back Lewis Mayo delivers a legendary Rangers parting gift as the defender helps his side to Viaplay League Cup victory over Celtic.
The young defender, 23, moved to Rugby Park on a permanent deal in the summer and has already helped the Ayrshire side achieve an Old Firm scalp.
Having spent last season on loan at Kilmarnock, Lewis Mayo is well versed with Derek McInnes’ playing style and the Ayrshire outfit are proving a tough nut to crack on home turf.
Putting in an inspired display at centre-half along with his well drilled and committed teammates, Marley Watkins’ second-half strike has halted the Parkhead side’s treble defence.
Lewis Mayo and Kilmarnock send Celtic packing
The result has sent waves through Scottish football and given Brendan Rodgers a bloody nose upon his return to Celtic, with this the Northern Irishman’s first ever cup defeat in Scotland.
The Kilmarnock victory has now cleared the way for Rangers to go and lift this trophy for the first time since 2011 and Lewis Mayo has helped reduce those trophy nerves around his old club.
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With Rangers revamping the squad and the new-look Ibrox side still in the gelling phase, hoisting that first trophy above their head sets a standard that can help the club kick on domestically.
On top of that, should Rangers go on to lift the League Cup, it will get the first trophy monkey off manager Michael Beale’s back and the focus must now be on reaching Hampden.
No excuses for Rangers not to lay down trophy marker
Rangers were hardly convincing in the 2-1 victory over Greenock Morton in Glasgow and as a result have drawn another home tie with Premiership rivals Livingston.
Kilmarnock have won another home clash themselves, with Hearts set to visit the same AstroTurf surface that troubled Rangers and downed Celtic in the competition’s quarter finals.
But more than just clear the way for Rangers to go on and lift the League Cup – the Ibrox side now undeniable favourites – Lewis Mayo and Kilmarnock have released a pressure valve in Govan.
The thought of Celtic winning a sixth treble in eight seasons was unthinkable and thankfully that has now been extinguished.
On top of that, the Rangers pressure that was mounting on Michael Beale has been relaxed, the Ayrshire side helping to even up the early-season Old Firm blips.
Rangers too can now go into the final three matches of this tournament knowing that, whilst they cannot take the competition for granted, they have a wonderful chance to win the first silverware of the season.
There can be no excuses for not lifting the League Cup this season and there is now an increased expectation on this team to deliver in a major test of their mettle.