Brendan Rodgers on Yang and Kuhn bonus from Beaton’s Incompetence

Brendan Rodgers has been talking about both Yang and Kwon Hyeok-kyu as the two Celtic summer signings from South Korea start to make an impact in the Scottish Premiership. Yang started to shine at Celtic before the dastardly duo of Don Robertson and his puppet-master John Beaton intervened at Tynecastle earlier this month.

That got Yang a red card and a subsequent two match ban from the Scottish FA after the Celtic appeal was thrown out. Meanwhile over at St Mirren, Kwon Hyeok-kyu has been a stand-out for Stephen Robinson’s Saints side since his January loan move from Celtic and the Paisley boss is already looking at extending the loan move for all of next season.

Brendan Rodgers is up before the Scottish FA charged with stating the obvious about Beaton’s lack of competence as a VAR official and we’ll see how far Celtic take this one. A feeble fight will be disappointing to say the least. At some point a line in the sand has to be drawn and this sure is the moment for a determined Celtic response to the likes of Beaton. We have been here before with him and letting him off the hook then has just caused further issues down the road.

Heart of Midlothian v Celtic –  Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers following the cinch Premiership match at Tynecastle Park, Sunday 3rd March, 2024. Photo Andrew Milligan

Rodgers had to do without the on-form Yang for the past few matches but has he feels turned that to his advantage for a number of reasons. Firstly it allowed Nicholas Kuhn to get the chance to show a more accurate version of himself in a Celtic shirt and the German winger, a £3m January signing from Rapid Vienna, certainly did that.

Celtic v St. Johnstone – Nicolas Kuhn celebrates scoring during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday March 16, 2024.Photo Andrew Milligan

And secondly the manager has used Yang’s time away from the first team action to work on the South Korean’s fitness levels and he expects to see the benefit of that in the coming weeks as Yang is now really looking the part in training.

“I can see his progress. He did great against Dundee and he has been progressing every day in training,” Rodgers said, as reported by Daily Record. “We spoke to him (after the red card). It wasn’t his fault, it was unfortunate and sadly he has missed a couple of games. He will be back and feeling great and if anything it gave us the opportunity to put Nicolas Kuhn in aswell.

Nicolas Kuhn of Celtic scores. Aberdeen v Celtic, Cinch Scottish Premiership, Football, Pittodrie, Aberdeen, UK – 03 Feb 2024 photo Mark Runnacles Shutterstock

“Now he looks like he has come onto his game and looking stronger. He looks a different player in training now. It’s been a great opportunity for him. So, if nothing else, after those couple of games what we gained from that is game time for Nicolas who has shown up really well, then Yang comes back and we have two really good players for that position.

Yang celebrates scoring during the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Aberdeen at Celtic Park on November 12, 2023 . (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“He (Yang) has been working on his overall game, his understanding out on the field. His analysis behind the scenes. Getting his upper body strength because it’s a physical game here and in Europe.

“Whatever league you are in in Britain it’s a physically demanding league. He has just grown throughout the season and it’s so good to see.”

James Forrest during the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and St. Johnstone at Celtic Park on March 16, 2024.(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

You can also add to that list of positives from these past few games, the re-emergence of James Forrest as a first team contributor, with a new super-sub role for the final stages of the match working really well in the past few games, with Jamesy loving every minute of his time on the pitch and grabbing a goal too against St Johnstone.

Celtic v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Matheus Cunha and Kwon Hyeok-kyu left battle for the ball during the pre-season friendly match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on Saturday July 29, 2023. Photo Brian Lawless

Rodgers knows that players like Yang and Kwon Hyeok-kyu coming from the other side of the world and into a different culture, at a huge club where the demands are off the scale compared to what they’ve been used to, are always going to need time to adjust and that certainly has been the case here. Yet good things come to those who wait and hopefully we’ll be drinking to that come the season end with Yang doing his bit to deliver this title and also a Scottish Cup on top.

“You can’t just drop someone in to a football club from the other side of the world and expect them to adapt to the culture, food, training… all the various facets it takes,” Brendan said.

Celtic Manager Brendan Rodgers. Photo Stuart Wallace Shutterstock

“Some do, for some others it takes time and you have to give those players that time. Especially a young player to come into a club of this magnitude. You have to work with them and bring them through. We can see clear developments and hopefully that continues.”

On Kwon Hyeok-kyu’s Scottish experience so far, that’s already turned into a positive thanks to a clever and mutually beneficial move concocted by two Irishmen managing in the Scottish Premiership, that meant that Kwon was heading down the M8 to Paisley for some first team action at St Mirren.

Hyeokku Kwon at St Mirren. Photo Shutterstock

“It’s an opportunity to go and play. We are really pleased. I spoke to Stephen, he needed game time with the squad being too big here. He is a talented player and hopefully he has gone and shown that and the guys are really delighted with him there.”

And the Celtic manager also discussed the co-efficient rankings concerns that might result in Scotland’s automatic Champions League spot being lost if Czech side Viktoria Plzen get a draw in one of their two matches against Italian side Fiorentina in the Conference League quarter-finals. if that happens then Scotland’s champions would be forced to qualify again from season 2025-26.

Not that this bothers Brendan much. “For us it’s about getting there however which way we get there. The co-efficient we need to try and work it as best we can to get our teams in. Yeah you’d want the place to be here but we shall wait and see.”

What else can we do? Blame Benfica!

John Collins Glasgow Celtic FC 27 September 1994

ON CELTIC SHORTS…To Celtic supporters of my generation John Collins became our star midfielder

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email


  1. Vata hasn’t arrived from afar.
    Perhaps that’s his problem.
    Everton apparently has joined the queue to sign him.
    Hail Hail.

    • RPM Celticfan on

      Vata’s “Problem ” is he wants and needs first team game time and no big club is going to guarantee him that , so whether he sighs or not is his choice , Hail hail .