CELTIC will kick off the defence of their Viaplay League Cup when they face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

Brendan Rodgers’ side were paired with the Ayrshire club in the last-16 draw which followed Dundee’s 1-0 win over Inverness Caley Thistle at Dens Park this afternoon.

It’s an action replay of last season’s semi-final when goals from Daizen Maeda and Giorgos Giakoumakis, his last for the club, gave the Parkhead men a 2-0 win at a rainlashed Hampden in January.

CUP FINAL HERE WE COME…Daizen Maeda nets the opening goal against Kilmarnock in the Viaplay League Cup semi-final at Hampden in January this year.

The clubs also met three times in the league with the champions winning all three – 5-0 and 4-1 at Rugby Park and 2-0 in Glasgow.


Kilmarnock v CELTIC

Hibs v Raith Rovers

Stirling Albion v Aberdeen

Airdrie v Ross County

St Mirren v Motherwell

Rangers v Morton

Hearts v Partick Thistle

Livingston v Ayr United

Ties due on weekend of August 19/20.

KYOGO AT THE DOUBLE…Celtic’s prolific hitman Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates scoring the first goal in the champions’ 5-0 league victory at Rugby Park in August last year and (below) the talismanic striker races away in triumph after giving the holders the lead in the 2-1 success over Ibrox opposition in the showpiece encounter in February.

The competition was the first of Rodgers’ seven successive trophies in his first stint as Hoops boss when they walloped Aberdeen 3-0 at Hampden in November 2016 with James Forrest, Tom Rogic and Moussa Dembele (pen) on target.

It was also the first of six victories in the tournament for the holders in the past seven years.

Rodgers won the trophy in the following two years – Motherwell (2-0, 2017) and the Dons (1-0, 2018) while Neil Lennon continued the silverware sequence with a 1-0 victory over Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side in December 2019.

There was failure during the barren 2020/21 campaign while Ange Postecoglou picked up the first of his five honours in two years with a 2-1 win over Hibs in December 2021 when Kyogo Furuhashi claimed a memorable double as the Hoops came back from a goal down.

And the Japanese hitman was on target the following term when he netted twice in the 2-1 success over Michael Beale’s Govan club in February this year.

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