Ange Postecoglou pleased with Japanese New Bhoys Iwata and Kobayashi

Ange Postecoglou spoke after the Scottish Premiership match with Kilmarnock in Ayrshire yesterday afternoon, and revealed his delight at his two newest Japanese bhoys, Tomoki Iwata and Yuki Kobayashi, playing their part in our 4-1 win. It was a blistering start to the game by the Hoops which saw us sail into a three goal lead just 25 minutes in..

Kilmarnock v Celtic – cinch Premiership –  Rugby Park Yuki Kobayashi  and  Kyle Vassell battle for the ball.  Sunday April 16, 2023. Photo Jane Barlow

It really was something quite remarkable to watch, and Derek McInnes men really had no answer for us. We demolished them in the first half, then just played keep-ball during the second period of the game to keep our winning run going. After omitting Cameron Carter-Vickers and Reo Hatate – who wasn’t risked on the dodgy astro-turf surface on his recovery from injury – Tomoki Iwata and Yuki Kobayashi stepped into the side and both men looked as if they had been playing there for years.

Photo: Imago

Of course, Iwata has already had more first-team exposure lately, owing to the fact Reo Hatate has been missing with an injury and Aaron Mooy absent too with a niggle. He calm and measured in possession and tidied up really well when he had to. Likewise, Yuki Kobayashi stepped up to the mark in the absence of our big USA international Carter-Vickers, putting on an assured display at the back.

Ange was delighted with the way the first opening 45 minutes went and claimed it is as good as we’ve played all season during that first-half down in Kilmarnock. The manager said: “I thought it was an outstanding first 45 minutes, and as good as we’ve played all year probably. Great intent by the boys and a real good attitude after last week, and after such a big win it was important that we went out there with a real determined effort to show people we weren’t getting complacent – the lads did that.

“It was a brilliant first half, in the second it got a bit sloppy to be fair and a bit disjointed. The whole game went that way, but overall I’m really pleased. I don’t rank them, they’re all a special part of my journey and career, this team is relentless, it wants to be relentless and part of that is that when you get your opportunities you take them and you don’t take your foot off the pedal. You keep going and that’s why we’ve scored the number of goals we have.”

Yuki Kobayashi of Celtic during the Viaplay Scottish Cup quarter-final match between Heart of Midlothian and Celtic at Tynecastle,  on 11 March 2023. Photo Malcolm Mackenzie PSI

On his two newest recruits from Japan, the boss said of what can be expected in the future from these two major talents: “I think more of what you saw today, he’s just a really good footballer, he’s really well-balanced he keeps the ball well. He runs hard he’s very mobile as a midfielder, he’s not just your holding midfielder so I’m really pleased with his effort.

“For him and Yuki coming in today it was important to give them some game-time. I thought both did well. We know this isn’t an easy place to play, with the pitch and the opposition, so I thought both of them handled themselves well.”

Paul Gillespie

About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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