NEIL Lennon saluted “world class” Fraser Forster after seeing his “unbelievable” squad chalk up a perfect 10 straight trophy wins with their Betfred Cup triumph.

Rangers were out to end the Hoops’ reign of domestic dominance but Steven Gerrard’s team had their hearts broken by on-loan Saints goalkeeper Forster at Hampden.

The Englishman made a string of crucial saves as Lennon’s team found themselves trudging through puddles during a rain-lashed first half.

The on-loan Southampton goalkeeper then pulled off a match-winning penalty save from Alfredo Morelos after Christopher Jullien had stroked the triple treble winners ahead in the 59th minute.

Celtic also found themselves down to 10 men as they conceded that spot-kick, with teenager Jeremie Frimpong dismissed for pulling back Morelos.

But Celtic once again found a way to win, leaving their manager purring.

The Northern Irishman - who follows Billy McNeill to become only the second man to have won all three Scottish prizes as both a player and a manager - said: “I’m really proud. We had to dig in today. We didn’t play well in the first-half. We had to rely on Fraser at times to make some world-class saves.

“But the character, pride and resilience they showed today was outstanding. Sometimes they don’t get asked too many questions at domestic level, but they showed today they have that in abundance.

“There are many ways to win a game of football. Over the past eight to 10 weeks, we have been playing scintillating, brilliant, breathtaking football. Today we had to roll up our sleeves and dig in.

“I’ve not seen a goalkeeping performance or goalkeeper like Fraser for a long time. In his first spell here, he did some incredible things and now he’s doing it again in his second.

“We’re grateful to have him. He’s buzzing and thrilled to be here.

“We needed him today. He stood up and made saves that other goalkeepers can’t make.”

Forster signed a five-year deal with Saints in the summer of 2017 but was dropped after the 5-2 defeat at Spurs on Boxing Day 2017 and has only played one game since - the 3-0 loss at West Ham at the end of last season.

Since then, Saints goalkeeping duties have been shared by Alex McCarthy (58 appearances) and Angus Gunn (27), with the former playing his seventh successive game in the defeat at Newcastle on Sunday.