ANGE POSTECOGLOU shuffled the Celtic pack again with his line-up for the 4-0 Premier Sports League Cup victory over Motherwell at Fir Park to set up a semi-final clash with Kilmarnock at Hampden in January.
Three of the players who made way from the side that thrashed Hibs 6-1 at Parkhead four days were the goalscorers against the Easter Road outfit, James Forrest, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Daizen Maeda.
The veteran winger thumped a hat-trick behind former Scotland international team-mate David Marshall to hoist his Hoops tally to 100, the Greek powerhouse claimed a double and the Japanese international notched his first Premiership strike of the campaign.
TWO OF A KIND…Liel Abada and Kyogo Furuhashi celebrate after the 4-0 win at Fir Park.
However, Postecoglou it didn’t worry him one bit as he made five changes to his starting eleven.
Asked if it was tough to leave out players, the Hoops boss smiled: “I don’t tell them, I just avoid them, mate.
“I just put the team up and walk away.
“They all appreciate and understand that if we are going to be successful, playing this kind of football, everyone’s got their role.
“We still have seven games to go in this stretch before the break and it’s not a matter of me just giving guys a game because I feel sorry for them. I’m putting guys in there because I think we can maintain those levels.”
Liel Abada replaced centurian Forrest and fired in a double against Well to take this campaign’s total to eight, inclufing a second-half hat-trick in the 9-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice in August and two in the derby at Parkhead at the start of last month.
JOY BHOYS…Sead Haksabanovic congratulates Reo Hatate on his superb goal against Motherwell.
The lively Israeli ace was denied a trio in Lanarkshire when a flashing low drive zipped past the diving Liam Kelly only to strike the inside of his left-hand post.
There was a happy conclusion, though, when Kyogo Furuhashi pounced on the rebound to claim the fourth goal.
Reo Hatate joined the scoring spree with an excellent third with a mesmerising switch of feet before rolling the ball over the line.
Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Liel’s a great kid and probably should’ve had a hat-trick.
“Reo got a cracker against Motherwell last time, so a different kind of one this time.”
Looking forward to a third successive semi-final at Hampden at the turn of the year, Postecoglou added: “It’s a little bit in the distance, but it’s great that we’ve got it on the horizon.”