Kyogo Furuhashi moved up to 20 goals for the season as Celtic progressed to the last 16 of the Scottish Cup with a comfortable win over second-tier Morton.
Aaron Mooy’s controversial penalty, awarded for handball against Efe Ambrose after a VAR review, put Celtic ahead and Kyogo quickly doubled their advantage.
Neat finishing from David Turnbull and another from Kyogo had the hosts four at the break and Mooy scored his second late in the game.
This means Ange Postecoglou’s side are the first to claim a place in Sunday’s draw.
It was Morton who started brightest in east Glasgow.
Lewis Strapp’s long throw-ins were particularly powerful, with the left-back starting and finishing a move that drew a save from Joe Hart and offered cheers for the traveling fans.
Another set piece from Morton, a corner, allowed a free header for Jack Baird, but Celtic cleared.
Liel Abada tried to take matters into his own hands at the other end and found his way to goal blocked. However, a lengthy VAR review ensued with Abada’s shot having deflected Baird off the arm of former Celtic defender Ambrose.
Referee Kevin Clancy pointed the spot and Mooy finished confidently. Morton manager Dougie Imrie’s head shake communicated his feelings on the penalty, which came in one of only three games this round to use VAR.
Abada and Ambrose were also involved in Celtic’s second, with the defender conceding possession and Kyogo receiving Abada’s pass to finish in the inside right channel.
Strapp couldn’t convert an inviting chance moments later, instead fouling Alastair Johnston in the process and Abada continued to torment Morton with a shot over the top.
And Turnbull all but ended the fight with a superbly struck shot from the edge of the box after Abada and Kyogo combined to set up the Scottish midfielder.
The hosts kept coming and Grant Gillespie made a mistake trying to clear Abada’s cross and Kyogo capitalized with a shot over goalkeeper Brian Schwake.
Postecoglou made his Tomoki Iwata debut as a substitute for Callum McGregor at half-time, and Mooy came close to doubling his tally for the day with a close-range post shot before Turnbull tested Schwake shortly. after.
Abada claimed another handball after his cross was cut by Ambrose. The ball hit the defender’s support arm as he slid to the ground and a corner was awarded.
Johnston’s first Celtic goal almost came after a complex pass with Mooy, with Schwake stifling the shot from close range.
But a fifth goal came when Sead Haksabanovic found Mooy in the penalty area and the Aussie finished without mercy.
Player of the Match – Liel Abada
what they said
Celtic coach Ange Postecoglou: “It was really professional. The guys stayed true to our principles. We scored some good goals. Since the World Cup, Aaron has been outstanding for us. He’s been a real key contributor. It was great for Dave to start. He worked in the game himself.
“Kyogo keeps scoring goals and apart from that he works very hard. Both him and Liel in the first half were really good, both with their energy and their pressing, helping us on the defensive side of things and helping us in the other way.”
Morton manager Dougie Imrie: “The first 15, 20 minutes we were good in the game and again VAR changes everything. Nobody really sees anything. I don’t know how Efe wanted to take his hand off the road. It takes a deflection and it’s is so close, I don’t know how they can give a penalty.
“After that we felt a bit sorry for ourselves, we lost another goal in quick succession. We had a few chances but we lost two more goals which killed our hopes of getting anything. that is.”