Celtic trio ready for Rangers semi-final after returning to squad

Celtic handed major boost ahead of Scottish Cup semi-final.

Celtic trio return to squad and in contention for Rangers semi-final SNS Group

Celtic have been handed a major boost ahead of their Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers as Reo Hatate, Jota and Liel Abada all return from injury.

Ange Postecoglou confirmed that the trio, who have been missing in recent weeks, have got through a week of training unscathed and are in contention for Hampden.

The Hoops are looking to take another massive step towards a historic treble by making it three Old Firm wins out of three against their city rivals.

Speaking to the media on Friday, the manager said: “We’ve been to Hampden a few times now, they have all been memorable occasions, even if you are not successful it’s always memorable for one reason or another.

“It’s a cup semi-final, we are getting to that part of the year when things get decided, so the main thing is that we’re part of it, and it’s up to us to get to that stage.

“It was a great atmosphere at the League Cup final and I’m expecting the same on Sunday, there will be great colour, great atmosphere, and I’m sure both sets of fans are looking forward to it.

“We’ve just got to do our bit and put on a good football match that will be remembered for the right reasons.

“Everyone got through unscathed from last week, Abada, Jota and Reo trained all week so they’re available, James Forrest will still be another week or so away.”

Celtic are now five games unbeaten against Rangers with the Ibrox side’s last derby win coming in the last year’s semi-final, but Postecoglou’s admits that defeats in big games can often linger longer in the memory than victories as he tasked his players to use it as an inspiration to make sure there is no repeat on Sunday.

He said: “You can never put those ones to bed, unfortunately, It would be nice to think that’s how it works, but I think most players and managers would tell you that you aren’t successful tend to stick in your memory sometimes longer than the ones that you are.

“On the day I thought we performed well, It was a really tight game, we lost in extra-time and where we were as a team at that point in time we were really bonding together as a group and you need to go through these experiences, both good and bad, for growth and I think we used that as real growing experience for ourselves.

“We used it as an opportunity to develop and learn and as a source of inspiration moving forward to try and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

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