ANGE POSTECOGLOU has praised the character of his latest Celtic signing Oh Hyeon-gyu.
The Celtic manager stressed the importance of the temperament and mentality of the South Korean striker who will take the place of the departing Giorgos Giakoumakis who is likely to be on his way in the next few days.
Oh was a major performer for Suwon Samsung Bluewings last season and his 14 goals helped steer them away from the K-League trapdoor.
Ironically, it was a similar strength of mind in Giakoumakis that first attracted the Hoops when the Greek frontman claimed a remarkable 26 goals from 30 appearances in his bid to stave off relegation from the Eredivisie with VVV-Venlo.
ON THE RUN…Oh Hyeon-gyu joins in with training at Lennoxtown.
The goalscoring exploits of the powerhouse hitman were unsuccessful, but he still did enough to win a £2.5million move from the Dutch minnows in August 2021 as Postecoglou revamped the ailing first-team squad he had inherited following the dire performance the previous season.
Oh has the qualities to fit seamlessly into the position that is about to be vacated by Giakoumakis – seven years his senior – and the Hoops boss said: “He’s all-action, he gets his hands dirty, he works hard and he loves a goal.
“For a young guy – he’s only 21 – his goals kept his club up last year, so it’s not like he’s coming from a club that was doing well and creating bags of opportunities, which shows his character.
“I think Celtic fans will really warm to him fairly quickly.”
EXCITED…Ange Postecoglou is looking forward to working with his latest recruit.
Postecoglou, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “I’m really pleased. He’s someone Mark Lawwell and myself identified really early on.
“We thought he’d be the first one through the door, but it’s fair to say that it’s taken a while to get the negotiations done and to get him here.
“It’s really credit to the player himself and to Michael Nicholson for their perseverance because there were times when I thought it wasn’t going to happen, but they both persevered to get it done.
“So, it’s great to have him here. I’m sure he’ll add to our football club. I’m really excited by the potential he has, but also the impact he can make straight away. I just think he’s a really good fit for us.”
Postecoglou added: “I had a fair bit of experience at national team and club level playing against Korean club sides, and there are some similarities [with Scotland], but, more importantly, they’re another country where their top players end up playing in the best leagues and some of the biggest clubs in the world. They’ve always produced great talent.
HIGH JINKS…a delighted Giorgos Giakoumakis hoists Daizen Maeda into the air after the Japanese striker’s winning goal in the 2-1 victory over Motherwell at Fir Park in November.
“The other challenging bit with Korean players is that they have to do national service and one of the advantages of Oh is that he’s already done it.
“He made the decision as a young man to do his national service, which leaves him clear to pursue his career, so there’s a lot there to suggest he could be a very good player for us.”
The Celtic supporters may have to wait until Oh settles in before they get their first glimpse of the youngster in action.
The Hoops travel to face Dundee United on Sunday at Tannadice, a venue where they romped to a landslide victory in August with Kyogo Furuhashi and Liel Abada claimed hat-tricks in each half.