CELTIC 5 MORTON 0
AARON MOOY and Kyogo Furuhashi fired in doubles and David Turnbull added another sublime strike as Celtic eased in tomorrow night’s Scottish Cup fifth round draw.
There was never the semblance of a shock at Parkhead this afternoon once the Hoops got into their stride.
At 4-0 at the interval, the home fans might have expected a landslide in the second period, but they had to be satisfied with one from the Australian World Cup midfielder.
JOY BHOYS…two-goal hitmen Aaron Mooy and Kyogo Furuhashi celebrate along with Liel Abada and Daizen Maeda as Celtic coast into the next round of the Scottish Cup.
There is no doubt, though, that boss Ange Postecoglou will have been more than satisfied with this work-out as he utilised 16 players throughout the 90-plus minutes.
Ex-Celt Efe Ambrose unwittingly stepped into the spotlight for three dramatic first-half minutes in which the Hoops scored two goals.
There was an element of sympathy when VAR ruled he had handled a rasping shot from Liel Abada. The ball ricocheted onto his arm before bouncing clear.
The home players did not even appeal for a penalty-kick, but the eagled-eyed assistant with new technology instructed referee Kevin Clancy to have a look at the incident. As so often happens, the referee returned to the pitch to point to the spot.
It was a harsh decision, but, as they say in the sport, we’ve seen them given – especially at this venue to the visiting team. We’re thinking of penalty decisions in favour of Dundee United and Ross County earlier in this campaign.
PENALTY…Efe Ambrose is adjudged to have handled Liel Abada’s shot which led to the Hoops’ opening goal.
NUMBER ONE…Aaron Mooy fires the spot-kick past Morton keeper Brian Schwake.
It was good to see one going in favour of the champions for a change and, once the fuss died down, Mooy stepped forward to whip a shot low into the keeper’s left-hand corner while Brian Schwake took off for the right.
The breakthrough strike came in the 18th minute and three minutes later Kyogo doubled the Hoops’ advantage. And this time it came after a calamitous error from the Nigerian international.
Ambrose’s first touch in his penalty area was awful and Abada pounced on the loose ball to set up Kyogo.
There was never any doubt about the destination of the ball as the Japanese striker tucked the ball under the advancing netminder.
NUMBER TWO…Kyogo Furuhashi makes no mistake from close range.
The Championship team were undone in four minutes as the interval loomed when the Hoops claimed two more strikes to put the game to bed with another 45 minutes still to play.
In the 42nd minute, Abada and Kyogo combined to set up Turnbull 25 yards out and the cultured midfielder swept a brilliant right-foot effort low past Schwake low down at his left.
In the opening moments of stoppage-time, Kyogo fired in an exquisite fourth goal. Grant Gillespie miskicked and that was all the darting menace needed.
He latched onto the ball, dragged it away from a defender to open up a pocket of space and then blasted an unstoppable drive high into the net.
NUMBER THREE…David Turnbull strokes home a superb effort.
PICK IT OUT…Morton keeper Brian Schwake has that sinking feeling as David Turnbull’s shot nestles in the net.
There was a solitary strike in the second-half to warm up the Celtic support and it arrived in the 84th minute and once again it was delivered by the impressive Mooy.
Alexandro Bernabei accepted a pass from Tomoki Iwata, on for Callum McGregor at the interval, and the Argentinian left-back spread a superb pass onto Sead Haksabanovic, who had replaced two-goal Kyogo at half-time.
The Montengero international had two goes to get shots on target from a tight angle on the left. He then rolled the ball into the tracks of the hard-working Aussie who sizzled a low drive into the net from 10 yards.
That was the end of the scoring, but Postecoglou also took the opportunity to put on Bosum Lawal for Carl Starfelt late in the game while James Forrest and Matt O’Riley were also second-half replacements for Abada and Turnbull.
NUMBER FOUR…Kyogo Furuhashi wallops a right-foot drive into the roof of the net.
NUMBER FIVE…Aaron Mooy sizzles a low left-foot effort wide of the helpless Cappielow keeper.
VAR managed to confuse everyone when Ambrose – who else? – clearly blocked an Abada cross from the right as he lost balance. It looked more like a penalty-kick than the one that was awarded, but on this occasion ref Clancy and his assistants saw nothing wrong.
All things considered, a reasonable afternoon for the home side and another opportunity for the manager to give game-time to Yuki Kobayashi, Alistair Johnston and Iwata.
Now there is a week’s rest before the action resumes against Dundee United at Tanadice a week tomorrow.
However, there is bound to be some news coming out of the manager’s office between now and then.
Watch this space!
TEAM: Hart; Johnston, Starfelt (sub: Lawal 87), Kobayashi, Bernabei; Turnbull (sub: O’Riley 77), McGregor (sub: Iwata 46), Mooy; Abada (sub: Forrest 59), Kyogo (sub: Haksabanovic 46), Maeda.