Skip to content

Rangers vs Celtic: Reo Hatate, Jota & Liel Abada return ahead of Scotttish Cup semi-final

Reo Hatate, Jota and Liel Abada have returned to Celtic training ahead on Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final; they are unbeaten against Rangers this season and remain on course for a domestic treble

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 26: Cetlic's Jota (left) with Reo Hatate at full time during a cinch Premiership match between Hearts and Celtic at Tynecastle Park , on January 26, 2022, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Image: Jota (left) and Reo Hatate are in contention

Celtic are set to welcome back three key players for Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers – and manager Ange Postecoglou has already felt the benefits.

Postecoglou confirmed Reo Hatate, Jota and Liel Abada have come through a week of training unscathed and are in contention for Hampden Park.

Celtic are looking to take another step towards a domestic treble by beating their Old Firm rivals at the national stadium on Sunday.

Postecoglou said: "From last week everyone got through unscathed and Abada, Jota and Reo have trained all week so they are available. [James] Forrest is probably another week or so away."

Jota's previous involvement was scoring the clincher in the 3-2 win over Rangers on April 8, which all but sealed the cinch Premiership title.

Japan international Hatate has not featured since suffering a hamstring injury early in Celtic's victory over Hibs on March 18.

Israel international Abada came off the bench that day but then suffered a thigh injury while on international duty.

Also See:

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 18: Celtic's Liel Abada celebrates after making it 1-0 during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and St Mirren at Celtic Park, on January 18, 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Image: Liel Abada could face Rangers

On their likely comebacks, Postecoglou said: "It's hugely beneficial for us as a group. I mean, even training this week has gone up a level because three more quality players have joined in training.

"All three boys have missed a bit recently and are itching to get involved.

"It certainly helps, not just with the starting XI but the ability to then go to the bench and impact the game.

"We obviously have training to go on Saturday and they need to get through that but they have had a strong week of training and I am really pleased they are available.

"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."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou insists defeats live with him for longer than victories as he looks to use the hurt of last season's Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers to drive them to victory this season.

Celtic are now five games unbeaten against Rangers with the Ibrox side's last Old Firm victory coming in last year's semi-final.

Postecoglou admits that defeats in big games can often remain longer in the memory than victories.

"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 [the games in which] you aren't successful tend to stick in your memory sometimes longer than the ones that you are," the Australian added.

"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."

Follow Celtic with Sky Sports

Follow every Celtic game in the Scottish Premiership this season with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch match highlights for free.

Want the Celtic latest? Bookmark our Celtic news page, check out Celtic's fixtures and Celtic's latest results, watch Celtic's goals and video, keep track of the Scottish Premiership table and see which Celtic games are coming up live on Sky Sports.

Get all this and more - including notifications sent straight to your phone - by downloading the Sky Sports Scores app and setting Celtic as your favourite team.

Win £250,000 with Super 6!
Win £250,000 with Super 6!

Another Saturday, another chance to win £250,000 with Super 6. Play for free, entries by 3pm.

Around Sky