IT was third time lucky for Celtic powerhouse frontman Oh Hyeon-gyu when he scored the crucial second goal against Hibs at Parkhead yesterday.
The encounter was deadlocked at 1-1 on the hour mark when Ange Postecoglou sent on the South Korean international as he made his anticipated triple introduction.
Oh came on with Alexandro Bernabei and Liel Abada for Matt O’Riley, Greg Taylor and Daizen Maeda as the manager made the required changes to his formation.
HEAD BHOY…Oh Hyeon-gyu launches himself at David Turnbull’s right-wing corner-kick to bullet Celtic’s second goal past helpless Hibs keeper David Marshall.
The Hoops had come back from a goal down at the interval after Josh Campbell had converted a VAR-assisted penalty-kick to level with a spot-kick of their own from Filipe Jota shortly after the turnaround.
The clock was ticking down as the champions mounted continuous pressure on ex-Celt David Marshall and his Edinburgh team-mates.
The hosts earned 15 corner-kicks with their opponents failing to claim even one and it was from a deadball effort that Postecoglou’s men made the vital breakthrough in the 81st minute.
David Turnbull, who had replaced the injured Reo Hatate early in the game, swung over yet another inviting effort from the right and Oh was not to be denied as he jostled with Campbell to get into position in the crowded penalty area.
NAKED AMBITION…Oh Hyeon-gyu and Cameron Carter-Vickers celebrate the South Korean’s crucial goal.
The strongman attacker got clear of his marker to launch himself at the cross to divert a header low past the sprawling Marshall for the second goal to set up the Hoops for three more points.
Oh had seen two earlier opportunities from close range fly off target, but he made sure it wasn’t going to fail for a third time when he bulleted the ball into the net as the clock ticked down.
Sead Haksabanovic, who came on for Kyogo Furuhashi, made absolutely certain deep in stoppage-time when he finished off some neat interplay by Alistair Johnston, Jota and Turnbull to whip a low drive past the grasping fingers of Marshall at his left-hand post for another memorable strike.
Oh was delighted to score his first home league goal for the club – his third since his January arrival – and said: “I missed the first chances I got, but I’m happy that I got the opportunity to score.
PARADISE…Oh Hyeon-gyu acceps the acclaim of the delighted Celtic fans.
“In the situation where we were losing the game, as a striker, I hoped that I could score an important goal for the team. I’m so happy that I achieved that.”
The triumph sends Celtic into the international break with their nine-point lead at the top of the table intact with only nine games to go.
They are back on the quest for league points on Sunday April 2 with a midday kick-off against Ross County in Dingwall.
Oh will be involved with his nation over the next week or so and, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “I have enjoyed my time in Scotland very much, but I’m looking forward to visiting my home country.
“I’m looking forward to playing with the national team and I’m happy to score and go back to Korea in what’s a happy time.”