Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is relishing a Hampden showdown with Rangers after the two Glasgow giants were drawn together in the Scottish Cup semi-finals.
The Hoops boss learned of the draw shortly after his side’s 3-0 quarter-final victory over Dundee United at Tannadice and is looking forward to returning to the national stadium for an eagerly-awaited derby next month after enjoying League Cup success there earlier this season.
“We are in it and that’s the main thing,” he said when asked about the semi-final draw. “The prize tonight was a semi-final at Hampden. We have been there already and it should be a cracking atmosphere. I am looking forward to it.
“It’s going to be great. I’ve had two trips to Hampden and in both those games the atmosphere was unbelievable. I’m sure it will be a great atmosphere again for that semi-final, but we’ve got a few games before that to focus on.”
Postecoglou praised his team for the way they went about their business at Tannadice, with Callum McGregor netting before the break and Giorgos Giakoumakis hitting a double in the second half.
“I thought we controlled the game from start to finish,” he said. “The goal allowed us to settle down a bit and control the game. It wasn’t an easy one with the pitch the way it was, but I thought we were comfortable the whole game in terms of dictating the play, playing in their half and harassing them when they had the ball.”
With the League Cup already in the cabinet, Celtic are top of the cinch Premiership and in the last four of the Scottish Cup. Postecoglou, though, laughed off talk of a treble.
“At the start it was all trouble, now it is all treble,” he joked. “The important thing is that we are still in the competition and at this stage of the season we have given ourselves an opportunity for success.
“That is the expectation here. That expectation is on me and everyone at the football club. The players need to embrace that.
“We can’t think just because we have won a trophy already that it is going to be a good season. We want to win every competition we are in and we have given ourselves a chance. It should also help with the confidence.”
United manager Tam Courts refused to blame goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist for the blunder that gifted Celtic their second goal.
“It happened to be a mistake by a guy who’s been tremendous for many years,” said Courts. “But football works in mysterious ways and I told him I wouldn’t be surprised if he does something that helps get us into the top six.
“He’s a huge character who will be important going forwards.”
Courts admitted his side were not sharp enough at either end of the pitch.
“Attitude, application and work-rate was evident,” he said. “The players were up for it, but to beat Celtic there have to be other ingredients. There were moments we could have done better with the ball and been more creative.
“We made some nervy moments for Celtic, but from an attacking perspective we chose the wrong option and the execution wasn’t quite right there.
“It was out of character for us to lose some cheap goals, but Celtic were the better team.”