853 minutes later, and Tomoki Iwata has finally scored his first goal in a Celtic shirt…
Although the Japanese midfielder’s goal at Tynecastle meant very little in the context of the game, it was a moment that seemed to mean an awful lot for the 26-year-old.
Iwata, who has been restricted to just three 20-minute cameos so far this season, will be hoping that his left foot strike at the weekend will see him kick on and feature more regularly in Rodgers new look Celtic side.
Brought in last January, the former J-League Player of the Year came into a settled Celtic team under Ange Postecoglou who learning from the first batch of Japanese signings, wanted to give new arrivals time to settle in at the club.
Starting seven of the eighteen games he featured in last season, Iwata impressed whenever he was on the pitch. His strength in the tackle and composure on the ball in particular were highlights of Iwata’s game that excited Celtic fans.
Although Iwata can feature across a number of positions, the role he is most comfortable and most effective in is certainly in defensive midfield. An extremely competent alternative to Callum McGregor in that number six role, Brendan Rodgers has taken a while to shine to the hard-working Japanese midfielder.
“Tomo made a great contribution coming into as well, it’s nice for him because he works so hard at his game,” the Celtic manager said after the 4-1 on at Tynecastle.
Off the back of his first goal in over a year, Iwata is a player that will be brimming with confidence heading into Celtics busy winter schedule. A player who can offer as alternative to the captain and who will only perform better with further game time, the Japanese international is a player who can contribute effectively if given the chance over the next run of fixtures. And no-one will know that more than the Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers.
We could be seeming much more of Tomoki Iwata over the coming weeks.