ANGE POSTECOGLOU couldn’t resist a splendid retort after it was suggested that Daizen Maeda’s goal in the 3-0 midweek win over Livingston came into the “lucky” category.

The Hoops were leading 1-0 following Greg Taylor’s 29th-minute strike when, shortly afterwards, the Japanese raider was right in line to be hit smack in the face after a wayward clearance from panicking defender Ayo Obileye.

The ball immediately ricocheted beyond a bewildered Livi keeper Shamal George and the hosts had doubled their advantage.

WHO’S A LUCKY BHOY, THEN…Daizen Maeda is about to be congratulated by Filipe Jota after netting Celtic’s second goal against Livingston. Keeper Shamal George is left baffled and beaten.

When it was put to Postecoglou the champions may have had a slice of good fortune, the manager, as reported in CQN, answered: “You love that word, don’t you? It’s just so easy! How many runs does Daizen make in a game?

“It was a product of his hard work. Anyone who watches Daizen sees he’s constantly making runs and constantly in those areas.

“There were a couple of times he lacked a bit of composure, but he’s always there – that’s why he gets his goals.

“I’ve known him for a while now and sometimes people say he’s fortuitous, but it’s on the back of working his backside off when we have the ball. He gets the rewards from that.”

Kyogo Furuhashi rolled in the third goal in first-half stoppage-time and Maeda proved in a sequence of images of just how lucky he can be in getting into goalscoring positions.

Matt O’Riley triggered the counter-attack with a sweeping ball downfield intended for the striker.

THREE CHEERS…Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates hitting the Hoops’ third goal against Livingston with Daizen Maeda and Matt O’Riley joining in.

At that stage, Maeda was deep in his own half and not even in the centre circle.

As his countryman gathered the ball after a missed clearance from a defender, Maeda simply hit the afterburners and raced up the field.

The team-mate who was in position for a pass from Kyogo was the pacy attacker who also provided a distraction to the opposition with his presence.

As it was, the team’s leading marksman did not require assistance as he expertly slid an angled drive low into the net.

Maeda, though, continued his run in case there had been a deflection off George or even a rebound off the post. If there had been, he was there to pounce and score another “lucky” goal.

ON THE MOVE…the ball is a speck in the air as Matt O’Riley launches a pass downfield to Kyogo Furuhashi. At that stage, Daizen Maeda is not even in the centre circle.

WAIT FOR ME…Maeda has already made up the yards with the ball still in the air and Kyogo looking to get on the end of the pass.

STILL IN THE RUNNING…Maeda makes his presence known to two Livi defenders as Kyogo prepares to take on Jack Fitzwater.

PICK IT OUT…Kyogo turns away as his shot eludes Shamal George on its way towards its destination.

NET PROFIT…Kyogo’s celebrations have already started as Maeda follows the ball over the line.

We can only hope Maeda’s lucky streak continues at Perth on Sunday. And Parkhead against St Mirren the following Saturday. And Hampden on February 26. And (fill in the blanks…)

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