Celtic face Rangers on Sunday in the Scottish Cup Semi Final as the teams battle to take their place in the Final on 3rd June against Inverness Caley Thistle, who earlier today defeated Falkirk 3-0 to book their place in the 2023 Scottish Cup Final.
For Ange Postecoglou’s side, they know that their Glasgow rivals stand between them and a shot at a Treble while for Michael Beale’s side, this is very much the last chance saloon as far as taking anything at all from this season.
Celtic are closing in on the Scottish Premiership for the eleventh time in twelve seasons and have already retained the League Cup, beating Beale’s side in the Final back in February.
Celtic have dominated the Glasgow Derby fixture this season winning the two matches at Celtic Park, 4-0 last September and 3-2 earlier this month. The game at Ibrox ended in a 2-2 draw, a result that clearly benefited Celtic more as Beale needed the three points to have any real chance of mounting a title challenge comeback. And that League Cup Final ended in a 2-1 Celtic win.
The last time theRangers got the better of Ange Postecoglou’s side was in the Scottish Cup semi-final last April, coming from a goal down to win the match 2-1 in extra-time.
Celtic go into the game boosted by the news that Liel Abada, Jota and Reo Hatate are all fit and in contention for tomorrow. Ange Postecoglou has a full squad to choose from with the exception of James Forrest who is still a week or two away from full fitness and realistically is not really likely to feature until next season.
With so many options all over the pitch Ange Postecoglou will have been watching the players train this week and will make his decision, as he always does, based on the team that he thinks gives Celtic the best chance of winning the semi-final.
The defence is perhaps the easiest for the manager to name. Joe Hart will start in goals. Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt will be in their usual positions at the centre of Celtic’s defence with Greg Taylor and Alistair Johnston in their full back berths.
In midfield, expect Matt O’Riley to start with the captain Callum McGregor at the heart of the central three. The manager will then have to decide who makes up the trio and he will be thinking about Tomoki Iwata, who has excelled in recent weeks, Reo Hatate, who has been out for a month with a hamstring strain and Aaron Mooy who has also had recent injury concerns after enjoying a real purple patch in the Hoops mid season. Ange may opt to go with Tomoki Iwata to start with Reo Hatate coming off the bench.
In attack, Kyogo will start through the middle. The Japanese forward will be assisted on the wings by Daizen Maeda and Jota.
Predicted Celtic Team for the Scottish Cup semi-final against theRangers
Starting XI – Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor; McGregor, O’Riley, Iwata; Jota, Kyogo and Maeda
Substitutes – Bain, Kobayashi, Bernabei, Ralston, Mooy, Hatate, Hakšabanović, Abada, Oh and Vata.
Willie Collum has been confirmed as the referee. Daniel McFarlane and Dougie Potter will run the lines as Assistant Referees with Don Robertson acting as fourth official. Meanwhile at Clydesdale House, Steven McLean has been chosen as VAR and he will be assisted by Frank Connor.
Kick Off Time
The game kicks off at 1:30pm (Celtic Park time).
Where to Watch
The game will be shown exclusively on Viaplay, with coverage starting at 12:30pm. The semi-final will also be shown live on Celtic TV for subscribers based outside of Britain and Ireland. Viaplay have a special offer which is valid until tomorrow where you can get a year-long subscription to the channel for £59. This gets you access to matches ib Scottish cup, Viaplay (League Cup), every Scotland Euro2024 qualifiers, the Euro2024 play-offs and La Liga matches. You can order HERE.
Big match at Hampden tomorrow, this time it’s the Scottish Cup semi-final between Celtic and theRangers with the winners going on to face either Inverness Caley Thistle or Falkirk in the final on 3 June at the National Stadium. If Celtic get through to the final we’ll have some Scottish Cup scores to settle with either possible opponent and it would also present Ange Postecoglou’s side with the chance to wrap up the Treble.
That will very much be the motivation tomorrow of Mick Beale’s outfit as they desperately try to prevent Celtic winning yet another Treble that would of course leave them empty handed for the season, with only the match at Ibrox to come in a fortnight, where they could be given the chance to honour the 2022/23 Champions of Scotland with a Guard of Honour with 50,000 of their fans given the chance to sportingly acknowledge that they are playing the finest team in Scotland.
Aye right, here’s how The Celtic Star writers – David Potter, Sandman, Niall J, Eddie Murray, Liam Kelly, Conall McGinty, Just An Ordinary Bhoy, our Editor and myself reckon tomorrow’s Scottish Cup semi-final against theRangers is going to pan out.
And please feel free to get involved by giving your own thoughts on tomorrow’s match in the comments section below…