Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Scott Bain will play in his first major cup final when the Betfred Cup holders face Aberdeen at Hampden on Sunday.
The Scottish champions’ No 2 goalkeeper has been used in all three ties played by Rodgers’ side in the tournament so far this season, against Partick Thistle, St Johnstone and Hearts and Bain’s reward will be to keep his place in the side ahead of first choice custodian Craig Gordon for the first showpiece occasion of the Scottish domestic campaign.
“Scott plays on Sunday – I have no qualms about that,” said Rodgers. “He is a fantastic goalkeeper. Craig can still get a medal as the sub keeper. He understands where it is at and it is something that we spoke about at the start of the season.
“He knew that if I was bringing in a number two goalkeeper that I would want him to have some involvement in the cup competitions so it has worked out well. He is very supportive, Craig. He is a brilliant goalkeeper but he is very mature in his outlook in it all and he recognises the importance of him doing well that he also needs a number two who is performing to a good level as well.”
Rodgers says Bain’s impressive display when he was thrown into the Old Firm game at Ibrox last March at short notice convinced him the 27-year-old can handle any of occasion. He added: “The biggest test you have as a Celtic player is playing away at Ibrox. So, if he plays like he did there, then every other game won’t be easy, but he will certainly be able to deal with it.
“It (Ibrox) could have been (too big for him) but Scott has a really good temperament and he fits into how we play.
“He is calm with it and works really hard. He knows he has the trust of the management and the players, so when he goes into the team, he copes very well with it. Every time he has played he has been first-class.
“He has been brilliant at the club and has a great mentality. He has also been very loyal as the support keeper. I see him as an equal. Craig has got the shirt and has been brilliant for a long period for me but it is important that we have another goalkeeper without having any fear of putting him in and Scott has shown that in my time here.
“Then we have two really good young keepers below that in Connor Hazard and young Ross Doohan who is out at Ayr, so the goalkeeping side is very strong.”
Gordon is expected to play on Thursday night when Celtic face Rosenborg in Trondheim, needing a victory to sustain their hopes of reaching the last 32 of the Europa League.
Rodgers is relaxed at the prospect of facing such an important European fixture just three days before the League Cup final.
He said: “We have a couple of big games but they are all big weeks, aren’t they?”
“It is nice coming into such games in good form. We are playing well and all the players are focused on it.
“We have had it before in terms of playing on the Wednesday in Europe before a cup final.
“Our history over the last couple of years has been tough games midweek and before my first cup final here we played Barcelona midweek and then we played Aberdeen at Hampden.
“Our programme is ready for it so we just focus on the next game and look to win. Whatever happens we look to go into Sunday’s game confident and we will look to win.
“It is nothing new. That is how it has been for us – big game after big game. We just stay calm and prepare how we prepare. Each game is important for us, so keep them coming.”
Rodgers will give his captain Scott Brown, sidelined for a month by injury, every chance to prove his fitness ahead of the cup final.
“He is back in training and we will assess it as the week goes on,” he added. “He hasn’t had a lot of game time over a long period, so we’ll see how he is over the coming days.
“Will how Scott feels himself play a part in it? The manager always picks the team, that’s normally how it works.
“But availability is important. Even if it’s not for 90 minutes, it might be that he can come into a game later on and close it out.”