THE Ibrox defenders face a “nightmare” when they line up against Celtic in the Viaplay League Cup Final at Hampden on Sunday.

Former Hoops striker Simon Donnelly reckons his old club will be firing on all cylinders with Ange Postecoglou assembling a threatening collection of wide Bhoys with the ability to strike fear into any rearguard.

Liel Abada, who netted twice in the 4-0 derby romp in September, has already claimed 11 goals this season while Filipe Jota has chipped in with nine.

PICK IT OUT…Daizen Maeda strikes the opener in the Viaplay semi-final win over Kilmarnock with keeper Sam Walker crestfallen. Defender Ash Taylor retrieves the ball from the back of the net.

Sead Haksabanovic scored his first goal for the club when he hit a double in the 4-2 victory over Dundee United in November and he also whipped in the winner in the 2-1 success over Ross County at Parkhead before the World Cup break later in the month.

Evergreen James Forrest fired in a hat-trick in the 6-1 triumph over Hibs in Glasgow in October on the day he celebrated becoming a Ton Up Bhoy.

Daizen Maeda raced away from struggling James Tavernier and Connor Goldson to hit the champions’ first goal of 2023 in the 2-2 stalemate at Ibrox on January 2.

And the turbo-paced attacker got the ball rolling in the Viaplay semi-final win over Kilmarnock with the opener in the 2-0 success to book their place in this weekend’s silverware showdown.

Ex-Celt Donnelly reckons the Japanese ace could be a pivotal figure at the national stadium and, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Maeda has returned from the World Cup and, of course, he is different to Jota.

DIDN’T HE DO WELL…Daizen Maeda celebrates hitting the winner in the 2-1 success over Motherwell at Fir Park in November.

“His trick is pushing the ball beyond a defender and running at him. He must be a nightmare to play against, he’s contributing hugely in every game when he’s on the pitch.

“So, the manager has created an environment when these players have to be at the top of their game or they will find themselves sitting and watching.

“This is the reason why he has built the squad as strong as he has.”

Maeda had to wait until the sixth game of the campaign to open his account in the 4-1 League Cup victory over Ross County in Dingwall in late August.

He has added another eight and could well go into double figures at Hampden.

Just watch him go!

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