ALISTAIR JOHNSTON doesn’t have to search for words when he describes his Celtic team-mate Daizen Maeda.

The Canadian World Cup right-back witnessed another awesome and inexhaustible display from the Japanese forward in the 3-0 win over Livingston and said: “He’s a machine. That’s the simplest way to look at it.

“You look back at the Rangers match and he was just flying around the pitch for 90 minutes and it was the same in this match, as well. He’s got an unbelievable engine.

“He’s a nightmare to play or train against. Just ask any of our full-backs who have to go up against him. He’s just constant.

SEE YOU LATER…Daizen Maeda speeds away from Livi skipper Jason Holt.

“He’s like this every day, which makes it really difficult for us, although it’s good to train against a guy like that. You can never take a minute off.”

Johnston, speaking to the Irish News, added: “He really does count for two on that side as you think you bypass him with the ball and he’s doubling down, pressing the guy again.

“It’s amazing to watch from my side across the pitch as you know the guy doesn’t know what’s coming as all of a sudden Daizen is there again.

“He’s a joy to have in your team, he’s such a weapon.

“He just helps us out in so many ways – the attacking side we see the goal he scored in the 90th minute and then the defensive side, as well. He’s really special to have.”

CHEERS AND CHEERIO…James Forrest (extreme left) joins in with his Celtic team-mates as they congratulate Reo Hatate after his penalty-kick opener in the 14th minute, but just 15 minutes later the veteran winger’s involvement was over.

The champions had to dig into their energy reerves again on a stamina-sapping plastic surface in West Lothian for more than an hour after Joe Hart’s red card.

The dismissal of the 36-year-old keeper for the first time in his career meant an early conclusion to James Forrest’s first start since the 2-2 draw at Ibrox on January 2.

The evergreen winger was replaced by Scott Bain for his first appearance of the campaign and the former Scotland international No.1 will also be between the sticks against Motherwell at Fir Park on Saturday while his glove rival serves an automatic one-game suspension.

Despite the numerical setback, Maeda and Celtic proved to be unstoppable and the Japanese speedster brought down the curtain on a fine individual and collective performance in stoppage-time by rifling in the third.

Reo Hatate had netted a first-half penalty-kick for his first strike of the term while Matt O’Riley claimed the second for his fourth goal in this crusade – one more than he achieved in the entire previous season.


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