Maeda proved his worth yet again at Ibrox – he’s been a transfer steal

Before the game on Sunday, I thought that one of the key battles that Celtic would have to win to overcome the odds and win, or at least not lose, would be Daizen Maeda against James Tavernier.

The Japanese international has been one of the major difference makers when we’ve come up against that mob in the past few years, particularly away from home and under tough conditions.

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

And so it proved once again, as the man with that electric pace and pressing ability got us ahead of the game by Sony chasing the ball down 21 seconds into the powder-keg fixture. I don’t think anyone could scarcely believe it inside Ibrox, such was the ultra-explosive pace at which it happened to unfold in Govan. It definitely shocked the whole Rangers team and Tavpen specifically, who really has no answer for this man it would seem.

Many are so quick to get on Maeda’s back and judge the player every time he plays in the green and white hoops; however, nobody else in that team, or theirs for that matter, could have scored that goal on Sunday. It epitomised what Maeda is all about and why he consistently gets picked for international duties when there are clearly more technically proficient individuals vying for a place with him in that Japan squad i.e. Kyogo.

When Ange Postecoglou took his team to Ibrox last January for our Festive fixture against Mick Beale’s side, it was Daizen once again that nipped the ball as it was played square across the field to leave Tavernier in his wake. He put us one up early doors in that game and helped us to really get a foothold on a match that presented problems, just as Sunday’s clearly did.

He signed for a fee of just under £2 million  in the New Year of 2022, and for my money he’s been worth ten times that amount. It’s been an incredible signing for the club and despite having his detractors, is surely one of the transfer steals of the century?

Superb stuff, Daizen – keep it up!

Paul Gillespie

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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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