BRENDAN RODGERS accepted it was “job done” in Celtic’s unconvincing 4-2 win over Livingston at Parkhead that earned the holders a place in tonight’s Scottish Cup semi-final draw.

The stuttering Hoops displayed alarming deficiences in the rearguard which allowed their struggling opponents two openings and there was an anxious moment when Joe Hart had to produce a stunning reflex save to deny a Michael Nottingham header with the scoreline deadlocked at 2-2.

However, a hat-trick from Daizen Maeda, playing his 100th game for the club, and a trademark strike from Kyogo Furuhashi got the team over the line, but it was a far from impressive exhibition from the hosts.

Rodgers acknowledged the fact and said: “It was nowhere near the level of performance that we would want, but you have to give a big credit to Livingston.

“They worked ever so hard and scored very good goals and the 4-2 scoreline looks more comfortable than it actually was.

“So, we’re in the next round, which is where we wanted to be, but with injuries and guys coming in and having not played, I thought it wasn’t as cohesive as what I would want, but we got the job done in the end.”

However, the contribution from evergreen James Forrest, who came on for Nicolas Kuhn in the 76th minute to make his first appearance since just before Christmas, brought a smile to the face of the Celtic gaffer.

Rodgers, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “It’s brilliant from Daizen to get the hat-trick. His movement, his runs, his desire to get in has got him his goals. So, I’m delighted for him.

“I was probably at my happiest when James came on because I saw genuine quality in the game – touch, control, body work, everything. He’s a big talent, so I was really happy.

“Everything we really created was probably mostly down that right side and the left side finished it off, but James was excellent when he came on.

“We had to dig it out, but the guys have got us there, which is important.

“Now we can see who we can draw in the semi-final and, hopefully, we’ll have a few of those players back who will up the level of our performance.”

Aberdeen booked their last-four spot with a 3-1 home win over Kilmarnock on Saturday while Philippe Clement’s Ibrox outfit overcame nine-man Hibs 2-0 at Easter Road in another controversial VAR-interrupted encounter.

Morton take on Hearts at Cappielow this evening and the ballot will be made immediately after that tie.


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