There is no prospect of Celtic not taking today’s game seriously.
The thing is, we don’t have to field what some might characterise as our “best team” in order to do that. Because we now have a sufficiently strong squad that the term itself is somewhat redundant.
So today might be a good time to play Kobayashi, and Iwata and Oh from the start. It might be a good time to give Bernabei a go on the left of defence, and to give Forrest a go on the right.
It might be a good time to take Callum out for a spell.
Haksabanovic has been excellent when we’ve seen him.
It’s time he was given a start on the left. It would be great to see him on an extended run, because I think he’s a classy footballer who was just starting to come into his own and score goals.
This can all be done without weakening our chances of winning, and I would be happy to see this even if the next game wasn’t a Hampden cup final. This is what you build a big, strong squad for.
This is the perfect moment to do a little rotation.
I wonder if Kyogo is 100% of the way there. I wonder if there are others – and I come back to Callum – who would not benefit from coming on from the bench.
I’d keep Mooy out of the team, because I think he’s a guaranteed starter at Hampden and I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t, and that might be the only consideration I’d pay to that particular match.
This isn’t about underestimating Aberdeen. They are capable of being a very good side and I hope they are on the road back to being a serious thorn in our side next season when they have their managerial issues resolved. (Chris Wilder, by the way, would be a superb appointment and is just what their club needs. I hope they get him.)
No, this is about Celtic, about flexing our muscle, demonstrating our power and getting these guys ready, now, for the next campaign in which all will play starring roles.
This is about the benefits to us, in the here and now and for the future.