DAIZEN MAEDA celebrated becoming a Century Bhoy with a hat-trick to propel Celtic into tonight’s Scottish Cup semi-final draw.

However, the Japanese speedster still wasn’t totally satisfied and reckoned he should have scored FIVE against stubborn Livingston who produced a fright or two before the smoke of battle settled at Parkhead yesterday.

Maeda has a point and it will remain a mystery how he contrived to hit the crossbar from about four yards when he could have claimed the Hoops’ fourth goal before his colleague and compatriot Kyogo Furuhashi achieved the feat with a swift break and unerring finish beyond the heroic Michael McGovern.

THAT’S MY BHOY…Tomoki Iwata celebrates with Daizen Maeda after his Japanese countryman’s hat-trick in the 4-2 Scottish Cup win against Livingston.

The Man of the Match said: “I am very happy with my hat-trick, but I am happier that we won the game The last time I scored a hat-trick was in pre-season in the friendly against Yokohama.

“Once we got the first goal and then the second, we had the feeling there was more to come. So, it was good to get the third.

“I could have scored a fifth goal, as well. I wasn’t concerned that much because I had the feeling we could score again.

“The important thing was we won.”

Speaking to the Daily Record, Maeda, who toiled for full fitness at the season’s kick-off, added: “It was very difficult for me earlier, but I kept working hard and doing my best and that’s why I am here today.

“I will keep working hard for the club.

START OF SOMETHING GOOD…Daizen Maeda races away after tucking the first goal behind Michael McGovern.

“First of all, the next game will be the key game. I don’t want to think ahead too much. We just focus on the next game. Some games have been tough and we have struggled.

“But we have to compete and work hard. We have to keep working hard for the rest of the season.”

The holders now go into tonight’s last-four draw with Aberdeen, 3-1 victors over Kilmarnock, and Philippe Clement’s Ibrox side who overcame nine-man Hibs 2-0 at Easter Road in another VAR-interrupted volatile encounter.

The remaining place will go to either Morton or Hearts who meet this evening at Cappielow.


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