Hyeon-gyu Oh picked up his second cap for South Korea in his country’s 2-2 draw with Colombia, as he came on a second half substitute in new manager Jurgen Klinsmann’s first match as Oh’s international boss.
And it appears having the experience and nous of a proven striker in his day, as a player with Bayern Munich, Spurs and Germany, will influence Oh when he returns to Celtic following the international break, with Klinsmann, as reported in Daily Record, advising our January signing that a bit more selfishness in front of goal is required – and Oh it seems is more than willing to take on his national coach’s advice.
“The manager here has asked me to more selfish in front of goal. When someone like Jurgen Klinsmann gives you advice, it’s wise to listen. I want to improve everything in my game, so to get advice from him is invaluable. Already I feel I have improved in the short time I have been at Celtic. Scottish defenders are physically strong but I don’t avoid them and try to be as physical as I can.
“It’s a tough league and I always feel the defenders playing against us give 120 per cent to stop us. So, to beat them, we have to give even more. I definitely think I have become stronger by playing at Celtic. You have to be tough to survive in the Scottish league.
“It was a huge honour to play for my country and I got as good a welcome here by the fans as I do when I play for Celtic. I hope I am given the chance to show what I can do in our next game against Uruguay in Seoul.”
Oh’s comments on the physicality of Scottish football are nothing new, but not all Celtic strikers have adapted to it over the years.
In the case of Oh however it’s fair to say the lad is a proper unit, and he evidenced his ability to scrap for supremacy in the box with his impressive physical manoeuvring to create the space he needed and to get in front of his touch tight marker to head Celtic in front in the Hoops 3-1 win over Hibs, just prior to his leaving for international duty with South Korea. It will take a tough defender to bully Oh, that’s for certain.
The early impression of Oh has certainly been a positive one so far. His goals to date have helped endear him to the Celtic support, and although it is far too early to pass judgement, good or bad, at this juncture, Oh has certainly impressed with his work rate, hold up play and willingness to get involved with the physical side of the game – something that is required to be in Celtic’s armoury over the course of any Scottish Premiership season, where the rules of engagement can be somewhat different to other European leagues.
If Oh can also pick up a few tips surrounding the dark arts as well as the advice on being more ruthless in front of goal from his national boss, the sky is the limit for Oh at Celtic.
He certainly has all the attributes to be a success in Scottish football and at just 21 years of age he also has time on his side. You get the impression watching Oh Hyeon-gyu develop at Celtic will be an enjoyable experience, and perhaps less so for Scottish premiership defenders.