CELTIC may be returning from freezing Trondheim with a chill in their bones, but there was no mistaking the warm glow around the squad on the flight back to Glasgow yesterday. And their performance in Norway as they saw off Rosenborg should have sent a shiver down the spines of Aberdeen ahead of tomorrow’s Betfred Cup final.

The only cold comfort that Derek McInnes’s men could perhaps take if they were watching the match was that the clinical edge that has been the hallmark of Celtic’s play in recent weeks was rather blunted. Their dominance over the lacklustre Norwegians could and really should have resulted in a greater goal return, and the number of times that promising build-up play broke down at the final hurdle would perhaps be the only concern for manager Brendan Rodgers ahead of the trip to Hampden.

Aberdeen are likely to deploy a similar game-plan to the one that worked so well against Rangers in the semi-final, defending deep as they try to stay in the game for as long as possible and then try to take any opportunity they can carve out on the break or from a set-piece.

While Celtic may have been wasteful against Rosenborg though, it is doubtful that they will be quite as profligate as a Rangers with Umar Sadiq at the sharp end of their attack were at the national stadium back in late October.

Steven Gerrard was starved of attacking options ahead of that game, but the same certainly cannot be said for Celtic, with the only headache for Rodgers being who he leaves out.

The question of Scott Brown starting in the deep-lying midfield role is the first one, but if he does, then it only releases Callum McGregor to wreak havoc further up the pitch.

There are goals from everywhere for Celtic at the top end of the pitch. James Forrest and Ryan Christie have been in great form, Scott Sinclair is getting back among the goals, and perhaps ominously for the Pittodrie side, Tom Rogic looked bang in the mood as he returned to the side in Norway.

The Australian just loves playing against Aberdeen. He has put them to the sword so often it is verging on cruelty, and he has a particular knack for scoring against them on the big occasion. He scored the opening goal against them in the 2016/17 League Cup final, then famously bagged a last-gasp winner against them in the Scottish Cup final later that season to crown Celtic as the ‘Invincibles’ and deliver a treble. You wouldn’t bet against him netting yet again tomorrow.

He was at the centre of everything against Rosenborg, and could have had a first-half hat-trick on another day. Aberdeen will be hoping that day isn’t tomorrow.

In the recent past, one sliver of light that just about any opposition could take when faced with the attacking arsenal at Celtic’s disposal was that they would always give you a chance at the other end through their slackness at the back.

But now, with the partnership that has been struck up between Filip Benkovic and Dedryck Boyata at the heart of the backline, that weakness seems to have been eradicated. The clean sheet at the Lerkendal Stadium was their eighth in 10 games as a pairing.

It all adds up to suggest that a difficult afternoon awaits for Aberdeen. Celtic fans won’t care a jot about the spectacle if their team romps to an emphatic victory, but it would be great for the neutrals if the Pittodrie side can put up a fight and make a real contest of the season’s first final.

They will give it their best shot, I have no doubt, but I fear for them. Anything less than a thumping Celtic win would be a major surprise given the relentless form they have been showing, and I fully expect that is what they will deliver.