Maeda gave Tavernier a torrid time, Arsenal’s penalty claim in Champions League

John Hartson praised Daizen Maeda for his performance at Ibrox on Sunday afternoon and said that as a result of facing the Japanese winger, theRangers captain James Tavernier didn’t know what day of the week it was.

It took Maeda just 21 seconds to find the back of the net. The goal looks freakish but it was far from it. It came about because of two factors, Daizen’s speed and Tavernier’s hesitancy as a result of his opponents running ability. No other player in the league would have scored that goal and perhaps had Tavernier been chased down by any other opponent but Daizen he would have either found the touchline to concede a thrown in or made the better decision by rolling the ball back to his keeper to clear.

Talking about Maeda on the Go Radio Football Show, John Hartson said: “He’s not renowned for his goal scoring but he gets his fair share. You can’t deny him that. We keep going on about his energy but he’s also clever as well.

“He can show defenders down the line, he can show them inside into the oncoming midfield players. He gets up and down the pitch and he’s really good, I thought he gave Tavernier a horrendous afternoon first-half. Tavernier didn’t know what day it was.

“With the goal Tavernier’s trying to hook it away but if he’s a bit calmer he rolls it back to the goalkeeper.

“Maeda has made up so much ground Tavernier’s probably shocked that he’s there on his shoulder! The one thing Tavernier probably doesn’t do is look over his shoulder.

“He tries to hook it, there’s a little bit of luck but what Brendan said with the tactics and the press really high, they did that and it worked. TheRangers backline made a lot of mistakes.”

Daizen Maeda scores in the first minute of a Scottish Premiership football match against theRangers on April 7, 2024 at Ibrox. Photo Imago

With so many teams in the Scottish Premiership playing with a low block against Celtic, Daizen enjoys the additional space he gets to work in when up against theRangers. The Japanese international also knows that he has the beating of Tavernier and that might be something that will concern theRangers manager Philippe Clement going forward.

Next season Tavernier will be 33 years old and won’t be getting any quicker. Daizen Maeda is on a long term contract at Celtic and it’s hard to think that he’ll not be charging down that left wing.

His goal on Sunday was a reward for that running ability that seems to terrify James Tavernier and with good reason. And while the two right wingers for Celtic under-achieved in the match and in Yang’s case was culpable for the late equaliser, Daizen was not found wanting defensively all afternoon on the left hand side.

Fabio Silva dives inside the Celtic penalty area and cons a penalty from Alistair Johnston, referee John Beaton initially booked Silva for simulation but reversed the yellow card and awarded theRangers a penalty kick after a VAR sent an edited clip for review. Photo Stuart Wallace/Shutterstock

Meanwhile on theRangers penalty at Champions League level there appears to be a different rule when a player is looking for contact, as Arsenal found out to their cost last night…and didn’t get a penalty. Compare and contrast to the incident at Ibrox on Sunday that allowed theRangers back into the game and gave Tavernier some redemption in a match where he’d been roasted by Maeda by doing what he does best – scoring from the spot.

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds 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