Yokohama F Marinos 6-4 Celtic – Plenty of positives to be taken from today’s game

Earlier today Celtic continued their pre-season build up taking on Yokohama F Marinos in what was their first game of the much anticipated tour of Japan. Unfortunately for Celtic, the entertaining match up ended in a 6-4 defeat for the Scottish Champions after Celtic had initially been leading 3-2 at the interval.

Now from my own perspective I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the game and it was great to see Celtic back in action again, it’s felt like forever since the season ended.

I also however took the game for what it was, our first proper test of this pre-season build up after two under the radar challenge games against Portimonense in Portugal. A chance to build our fitness and test ourselves against some decent opposition as we continue to build towards the season opener. Nothing more, nothing less.

In these situations I always think the final score is pretty much inconsequential, especially with so many substitutions taking place throughout the game. It’s really just a chance for players to get back into the swing of playing games again whilst giving the manager a chance to have a good look at the squad he has at his disposal. Post game however there seems to be a lot of negativity floating around social media in regards to our performance.

Now anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I’m not a fan of social media in the slightest. But having been directed towards checking some of this stuff out by a friend who thought it was all a bit over the top, I reminded myself why I hate social media so much.

Honestly, the way some people get on you would think we have a squad full of no hopers and we may aswel hand our trophies over to theRangers before the season has even started!

Yes we conceded six goals. I understand letting in six goals in any game is hard to swallow for any Celtic fan but we have to put it in to perspective. It’s pre-season. It’s early pre-season for crying out loud. We made a ton of substitutions during the game.

Japan is humid as hell at this time of the year. We were playing against probably the best team in Japan, who are midway through their season by the way, not just warming up for the campaign ahead like we are. The result honestly doesn’t matter that much, it was a proper contest that will have done us the world of good going forward.

Now I understand not all our players covered themselves in glory. Joe Hart gave away a goal in the first half. Carl Starfelt made a few mistakes. People obviously see we conceded six and panic that our backline isn’t up to it. They are correct in a way. We definitely need reinforcements in defence and possibly in the goalkeeping department.

The thing is, we already knew that. And I can almost guarantee Brendan Rodgers does also. Have a meltdown on social media because some players made mistakes during a game at this stage of our pre-season is a bit ridiculous in all honesty.

Brendan Rodgers definitely has decisions to make regarding this squad, that much is true. Does he see Hart being our number one next season? I would love to see Celtic splash out on a top keeper this summer but I’ll not be massively disappointed if Rodgers keeps the faith in Hart. He’s still a very good goalkeeper who has proved his worth to Celtic.

It’s also pretty much universally agreed that we need another top centre back and i’m certain we will get one this summer. Starfelt is a good defender but he is not Champions League level. We do need someone of a higher calibre going forward to partner Cameron Carter-Vickers in the middle. Welsh and Scales played the last third of today’s game but I don’t see either of those remaining at Celtic much longer.

Underneath all this negativity however lies a lot of positives. I thought Hatate looked excellent today. I also thought Abada played very well and if Celtic can convince him to stay I have very high hopes that he will absolutely flourish under Brendan Rodgers. People panic about getting someone in to replace Jota but I think his replacement has been under our nose the whole time in the form of the young Israeli star. It’s his time to step up and become a star of this team.

We also saw Daizen Maeda step up against his old club by netting a first half hat-trick. I feel Maeda doesn’t get enough praise at times. If someone else had scored 3 goals inside 45 mins today we would all be salivating over them. He will be a huge player for us next season and getting him tied down to a new contract was excellent business by the club.

It was also good to see some of the younger players getting some game time today. For me the standout was Daniel Kelly who was very good on the ball, showed great composure throughout and wasn’t scared of doing the dirty work at times. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on him during the rest of this pre-season and hope he can stake a claim to be involved with the first team this season.

Finally a mention also for David Turnbull who scored a fine goal at the end. Some wouldn’t be disappointed to see him leave but I think it would be beneficial to keep hold of him as I think he still has an important role to play in the team during this coming season.

Conall McGinty

About Author

Hailing from Cushendall in the North of Ireland my formative years were spent watching Celtic during our barren spell through the 90's which meant I have appreciated our recent trophy-laden spell even more. Favourite matches home and away I've attended has to be beating Man Utd 1-0 at Celtic Park and being with my 2 brothers watching us beat Lazio 2-1 in Rome. Best away day experience? Has to be Munich with friends from Coatbridge...what a few days!

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