Irish Eyes were smiling last Wednesday night through at Easter Road when the Republic of Ireland striker Adam Idah made his first start for Brendan Rodgers’ side in the vital Scottish Premiership match at Easter Road against Hibs. Idah scored twice from the penalty spot to give Celtic the three points and send them clear at the top of the league, looking down on theRangers.
Celtic have had plenty of penalty woes this season, in the last home match at Celtic Park, Honduran winger Luis Palma managed to miss his spot kick but was given a second chance when VAR noticed some encroachment from the Ross County players. Not that it mattered as Palma’s second effort was worse than his first and was just as easily saved.
That was just before the transfer window closed and Brendan Rodgers on the Monday morning made contact with Norwich City about bringing Idah to Glasgow on loan until the end of the season. Idah’s signing was confirmed by the club on transfer deadline day and he came off the bench at Pittodrie at the weekend, getting an assist for fellow new Bhoy Nicolas Kuhn, as Celtic salvaged a point in a 1-1 draw against Aberdeen.
Those two dropped points allowed theRangers to, on Tuesday night, draw level on points with Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership, with Philippe Clement’s side beating Aberdeen 2-1 at Ibrox.
Twenty-four hours later Celtic had the chance to extend the lead to three points and Brendan Rodgers gave his two January signing, Idah and Kuhn, their first starts and also brought in Japan international winger who had just returned to the club after his country’s surprise elimination from the Asian Cup. Rodgers, who is of Northern Irish decent, was gambling on a new look attack and aiming for a big win akin to clearing up on top online slot games in Ireland, well they say the Irish are always lucky and, given the recent trend for online gambling in Ireland has been positive, there’s bound to be plenty of opportunity for all. That’s to Adam Idah, Brendan Rodgers was a happy man after the game.
It’s fair to say that neither Kuhn or Maeda had particularly good games but the success story of the new-look front three was definitely Adam Idah. Outside his penalty successes the big Irishman led the line well, gave Celtic a real presence in the centre-forward position and was unlucky not to score in open play. He also linked well with Kyogo when Rodgers threw the Japanese striker on as Celtic sought a winner with the match capable of going either way with the scoreline level at 1-1.
Kyogo won the 89th minute spot kick, which was confirmed after VAR called referee Nick Walsh to the monitor to look at the incident and it was an easy, uncontroversial decision. So Idah collected the ball to face former Celtic and Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall for the second time on his debut from 12 yards.
Celtic supporters, either at Easter Road or watching on television, could be forgiven for watching this second Adam Idah spot-kick through their fingers but they had little to worry about as, despite the immense pressure, the Irish striker made no mistake, sending Marshall the wrong way for the second time in the match.
Come the end of the season Celtic supporters may have reason to remember Adam Idah’s Celtic debut and his penalty kick successes as a huge moment in deciding the destination of the Scottish Premiership title.
Afterwards, a delighted Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for Adam Idah, speaking at his post match media conference the Celtic manager said: “He’s taken six penalties before coming in so I knew what he could do. He scored a great penalty against Holland for the Republic of Ireland. You just see how he addresses it and how he is. He knows he’s a penalty taker.
“He was against David Marshall, who’s had a fantastic career in the game and is a top goalkeeper, there’s a psychological test there as well and he came through that. I’m really, really pleased for him. It’s a great night for him on his first start to score two goals and winning goals. I’m pleased for him.”
If Adam Idah brings the luck of the Irish to Celtic then we’ll all be delighted. Apparently he’ll cost £3m in the summer of Celtic want to make the deal permanent. Idah, who has always wanted to play for Celtic, has four months to convince Celtic to make him a permanent Celtic player and also a title winning Champion. You can see how much scoring the winner for Celtic means to Adam Idah in his post-match interview with Celtic TV…