NEW Japanese Bhoy Tomoki Iwata was introduced to the Celtic first team as a second-half substitute for skipper Callum McGregor in the 5-0 win over Morton yesterday.
The J-League Player of the Year had big shoes to fill, but Ange Postecoglou had no doubt his former Yokohama F Marinos defensive midfielder would embrace the situation.
The Hoops boss took the opportunity to give Canada World Cup right-back Alistair Johnston his fourth first-team start and central defender Yuki Kobayashi also kept his place after making his debut in the 4-0 victory over St Mirren in midweek.
FAR EASTERN PROMISE…Tomoki Iwata makes his debut against Morton.
Iwata completed Postecoglou’s three recruits in the current transfer window when he stepped onto the pitch with the champions already four goals ahead against the Cappielow side courtesy of a double from Kyogo Furuhashi and strikes from Aaron Mooy, from a controversial penalty-kick award, and David Turnbull.
The Hoops gaffer said: “We made some changes at half time and that allowed Iwata to make his debut.
“He was good, I know Tomoki well, he’s still not quite there with the fitness levels that he wants to achieve.
“But both he and Sead Haksabanovic have missed a fair bit of football recently, so it was good to get them 45 minutes and I thought that they both did well.”
BHOY OH BHOY…Ange Postecoglou and Sead Haksabanovic on the touchline during the first-half of the win over Morton at Parkhead.
Postecoglou also praised his team and, speaking to BBC Sport, added: “I thought that the performance was really professional.
“I thought the lads stuck to our principles, worked really hard and against opponents like this you can fall into a trap.
“To avoid that you need to work hard and we worked hard for the full game.
“We scored some goals and I’m pleased overall.”