Ange Postecoglou stressed there were no doubts about Kyogo Furuhashi’s fitness for Hampden after the Celtic forward spent most of the 4-0 win over Aberdeen on the bench.
Furuhashi showed no ill effects from the shoulder injury that forced him off the previous weekend after he came on in the 71st minute as Celtic maintained their nine-point lead over Rangers in the cinch Premiership ahead of taking on their rivals in the Viaplay Cup final next weekend.
Postecoglou joked he had no choice but to put the Japanese forward on given his desire to get involved but he had wanted to give January signing Oh Hyeon-gyu a bigger taste of action when he handed the South Korea international his first start.
The Celtic manager said: “John Kennedy kept telling me: ‘Look, he is getting really angry, you better put him on’. So I didn’t have much choice. I thought he was going to sneak on at one point.
“I just thought before the game it was good chance to get Oh some minutes. Kyogo has been outstanding in recent times and it was going to be hard for us to find a game for Oh with the fact we are only playing a game a week at the moment.
“I didn’t want to go too long without giving Oh a start and I thought this was a good opportunity to do that.
“But Kyogo is fine, he is raring to go and looking forward to next week now.”
Aaron Mooy was a surprise absentee alongside David Turnbull but Postecoglou is anticipating a full squad for next Sunday’s showpiece.
“Az just pulled up a bit sore in training (on Friday),” Postecoglou said. “I thought, he has played a lot for us recently, and I was pretty keen to give (Tomoki) Iwata some game time as well.
“I just thought it was a good one for Az to sit out and, talking to the medical team, both him and Turnbull should be training Tuesday and Wednesday when we are in and should be right for the final.”
Reo Hatate was the star of the show, netting in each half after impressive skill, after Callum McGregor sent Celtic on their way in the second minute. Substitute Liel Abada rounded off the scoring with an excellent finish in the 89th minute.
Postecoglou said: “First half I thought we were excellent. The tempo, quality and intensity of our football was outstanding and we scored a couple of good goals and could have had a couple more.
“Fifteen to 20 minutes of the the second half were a grind but again the guys coming on gave us the energy we needed and we finished strong.
“Reo wants to be the best footballer he can be. He wants to improve and he is not going to settle for where he is at.
“Every day he comes in wanting to be a little bit better and he pushes himself to the absolute limits and he consistently asks us to give him the feedback he needs to be the best he can.
“He is reaping those rewards and I have no doubt there is more to come from him because that’s his mindset.”
Aberdeen caretaker manager Barry Robson was frustrated over his side’s start.
Robson said: “First and foremost we are really frustrated. We know how good a side Celtic are.
“With how fragile we are with previous games, you could see that and the last thing we wanted to do was concede an early goal and that puts your game plan out a wee bit.
“We struggled a wee bit after that in the first half and the second one comes and they start to pull you about a wee bit.
“But when we got them in at half-time and settled them down a bit, I thought we came out a lot better in the second half.
“I am just in, I am trying to help them, and what I saw after that was boys that wanted to fight and show a bit of character, and they were brave.”