ANGE POSTECOGLOU had grounds for concern as Celtic overcame Kilmarnock – and a dodgy Hampden pitch – to book a place in the Viaplay League Cup Final next month.

The Hoops boss sheltered under his hood while relentless rain battered down on the national stadium as the holders neatly dodged slipping up with a 2-0 win to make certain they would be back at the national stadium to defend their trophy on Sunday February 26.

The dreadful monsoon conditions made life extremely difficult for some of the Hoops performers to play to their usual high standard.

The playing surface was just one big area designed for errors which would separate the winners from the losers during a heartstopping sporting lottery.

UNDER COVER…Ange Postecoglou inspects the Hampden pitch before last night’s game against Kilmarnock.

Postecoglou wasn’t hugely impressed and said: “You can’t control the weather in Scotland, but I’m disappointed in the state of the pitch. I thought it would be better.

“You know when you come to Hampden it’s a showpiece event and you want the conditions to be the best they can be.

“Even when I walked out before the game, I was disappointed in the pitch. If you’re going to have showpiece events when everyone’s watching under the spotlight, you want to present it in the best condition.

“I’m not sure how much football they’ve had on the pitch or what the situation is. But for a Cup semi-final you want the best conditions possible. It didn’t have great grass coverage and didn’t hold very well.”

CUP THAT CHEERS…Ange Postecoglou is all smiles after the semi-final triumph.

Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “I would hope it’s better for the Final. All eyes are on these games and you want them presented in the best possible manner.

“That presents the whole competition in a good light. I don’t know the background to it. Maybe they’ve had some issues with it.

“But when you have a venue like this which is designed for big games, you hope it’s presented well.”

Goals from Daizen Maeda in the 18th minute and substitute Giorgos Giakoumakis deep in stoppage-time made certain the holders would be returning to the Glasgow south side arena in the silverware showpiece in six weeks’ time.

Postecoglou and his players will discover their opponents after the second last-four encounter is played between Jim Goodwin’s Aberdeen and Michael Beale’s Ibrox outfit this afternoon.


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