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Celtic boss expects Furuhashi to be fit for League Cup final against Rangers

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou said Kyogo Furuhashi had no fitness issues after the Japan striker spent most of the champions’ 4-0 win over Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday on the bench.

Victory maintained Celtic’s nine-point lead over Rangers at the top of table ahead of facing their Glasgow rivals in next weekend’s Scottish League Cup final at Hampden Park.

Furuhashi appeared unaffected by the shoulder injury he suffered the previous weekend after coming on in the 71st minute against Aberdeen.

His compatriot Reo Hatate did the bulk of the damage against the Dons, soon adding to Callum McGregor’s early opener, before a fine piece of skill in the second half gave him his second goal double in consecutive games. 

Substitute Liel Abada made it 4-0.   

Furuhashi spent most of the match off the field following Postecoglou’s decision to give South Korea’s Oh Hyeon-gyu a first start since joining in the January transfer window.

“I just thought before the game it was good chance to get Oh some minutes,” Postecoglou said.

“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.”

Rangers ensured the gap grew no larger with a 3-0 win at Livingston but, in contrast to Celtic’s upbeat fitness report, manager Michael Beale said Malik Tillman, Ryan Jack and John Lundstram were all “big doubts” for the League Cup final.

Beale, who has won 13 and drawn one since replacing the sacked Giovanni van Bronckhorst as Gers boss, said: “They are big doubts because they were not available today.

“Malik has a problem with his hamstring, Jacko has a problem with his calf and John with his ankle.

“What you saw today might be what we have and I was delighted with what we got today from the players.”

Rangers captain James Tavernier scored twice, including one goal from the penalty spot, before substitute Kemar Roofe added a third as Livingston ended the game with 10 men after midfielder Stephane Omeonga was sent off in the 77th minute for a second yellow card offence.

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