IT’S full steam ahead for the new Bhoy nicknamed Tommo The Tank.

Tomoki Iwata has hit the ground running since his January arrival from Yokohama F Marinos after completing the campaign as the J-League’s Player of the Year.

The versatile 25-year-old Japanese international midfielder made his first start in the 2-0 win over Ross County in Dingwall earlier this month and followed that up in the 4-1 victory over Kilmarnck at Rugby Park last weekend.

IN CONTROL…Tomoki Iwata is on the ball during his debut in Dingwall.

Matt O’Riley labelled him “a tank” after the success in Ayrshire, as CQN reported.

The astute engine room performer has already figured in the League Cup Final triumph over Michael Beale’s Ibrox side in February and the 3-2 win over the same opponents at Parkhead a fortnight ago when the champions extended their lead to 12 points.

There is likely to be a place against Motherwell in Glasgow this afternoon and Ange Postecoglou said: “I’m really pleased. He is one of those I already knew really well as I have managed him before.

“So, I knew what I was getting. Tomoki – or Tommo as the boys are calling him as it’s got to be turned Scottish somehow – is a really strong-willed, determined footballer who I always knew would try to be the best he could be.

“Even before I brought him here, I knew he would add to our environment just by the way he goes about things. If you ask the lads they will tell you the same thing.”

THE JAPANESE CONNECTION…Hampden heroes Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda, Tomoki Iwata and Yuki Kobayashi celebrate the League Cup success in February.

The Hoops gaffer, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “He’s an unbelievable trainer, does everything right which I knew he would and he is a quality player.

“He brings something different to our midfield.

“I have probably been a bit cautious with how much game time I have given him because I remember last year overloading the guys who came in off a full Asian season and it can be to their detriment.

“Easing him means he will finish strong.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report and best action images from Celtic v Motherwell this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

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