SATISFIED Celtic captain Scott Brown insisted that yesterday's 2-0 William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final victory against Rangers proves beyond doubt that the Ibrox side don't have the energy or quality to live with them. Having won four and drawn one of their five meetings against their great rivals - with one more to follow on league duty at Ibrox next Saturday - the Parkhead stand six matches away from the first unbeaten domestic season since 1899, and only the fourth treble in the club's history. Brown, who was only eligible to play in the match because the SFA disciplinary procedures were delayed by the Easter holidays, left the national stadium clutching the man of the match champagne and said he knew Celtic would book their final place against Aberdeen as long as they turned up.

“We enjoyed that and played really well," said Brown. "It was a really professional performance from start to finish. We knew if we’d turn up we’d win the game – and we did that. We knew they were going to sit deep and couldn’t press us, they don’t have the legs that we’ve got or the quality. We knew if we turned up, then we’re the best team in Scotland and we showed that again today.

“The semi-final last year we were disappointed," he added. "It was the worst we could ever play, the best they could ever play. And they got lucky on penalties. That was going to be a hit or a miss. But we’ve shown our quality again today and managed to get through."

With his appeal finally set to be held on Thursday, it remains unclear whether Brown will be able to take his place at Ibrox this Saturday, but he is adamant that the club have enough firepower to go there and win without him, and striker Moussa Dembele, who injured a hamstring yesterday afternoon.

“I’ve got to go up to the SFA now and see if my appeal comes through and if I can play on Saturday or not," said Brown. "If not then someone else will come in. It is always going to be different going to Ibrox. They’ve got to come out and try and press and create chances, especially with being at home. But they’re going to be scared with the pace we’ve got on the counter attack."

While Brown got the man of the match honours, perhaps an unlikely star turn was Callum McGregor, who steered in a fine opening goal on 11 minutes. Brown lavished praise on his midfield colleague and said he could join both he and Stuart Armstrong in the Scotland squad for the meeting with England at Hampden on June 10. “Callum’s an unsung hero, but not within the squad," said Brown. "We know how good he is and he’s appreciated by all of the boys. What a finish from him at the first goal! He used the man really well and played it around him.

"I don’t see why Callum can’t be involved for the England game, look at the way he’s playing just now. He’s in fantastic form."

With Dembele likely to sidelined for a fortnight at least, opportunity knocks for Leigh Griffiths to fire in the goals which could take Celtic's class of 2017 to a unique place in history. “We’ve got no worries about Leigh coming in," said Brown. "He might now get a run in the team and he’ll show his qualities. But we all know what he can do. He scored 40 goals last season. He’s been a little bit unlucky with injuries this season. When Moussa’s been injured, he’s been injured. He’s been waiting for his opportunity. He does it in training every day, he scores goals and works so hard it’s incredible. It’s just now about him getting a chance. It would appear he’s going to get game time now and he can show everybody what he can do.

The other goal hero on the day was Scott Sinclair, who steered in from the penalty spot after Griffiths had been brought crashing to the turf by James Tavernier.

“I wanted to redeem myself because the last pen I took was in the league and I missed," said Sinclair. “Moussa had come off so it was up to me to step in, and I’m always confident when I step up. You just have to put the pressure to the side and make sure you get your head down and score the goal.”