CELTIC hero Stiliyan Petrov insists Yuki Kobayashi was “bullied” in the champions’ 3-0 loss at Ibrox.

The Japanese defender made his debut in this fixture with Cameron Carter-Vickers sidelined following knee surgery that ended his season prematurely.

Kobayashi lined up on the left-hand side of the back four alongside Carl Starfelt. Unfortunately, both had performances to forget as the Hoops flopped to their biggest domestic defeat since Ange Postecoglou took over in June two years ago.

SINKING FEELING…Yuki Kobayashi (extreme right) and team-mates Matt O’Riley and Reo Hatate are left stunned as Todd Cantwell celebrates the first goal at Ibrox.

The 22-year-old recruit from the J-League in January was introduced to the derby at the same time as Argentinian left-back Alexandro Bernabei and South Korean striker Oh Hyeon-gyu.

It was a baptism of fire in front of a baying 50,000 hostile opposition fans that seemed to unnerve the new Bhoys.

Kobayashi was slow to react to a rebound from Joe Hart in only five minutes which allowed Todd Cantwell to drill in the opening goal and the defender was brushed aside by John Souttar as he headed in the second from a James Tavernier right-sided corner-kick in the 34th minute.

It got worse for the Parkhead side in the 70th minute when Callum McGregor and Starfelt got into a fankle that allowed Fashion Sakala a clear run on Joe Hart which he finished with an angled low shot into the empty net.

BRUSHED ASIDE…Yuki Kobayashi is heading for a fall as John Souttar (No.16) thumps in a second for the Ibrox side.

Former midfield ace Petrov watched the action as an analyst for Sky Sports and said: “These are the moments and the players you are going to count on for the rest of the season.

“Kobayashi today, it was a great lesson for him to learn about what this game is about.

“You know what? He just gets bullied.

“You can’t just stand still and use your body. You have to be proactive and attack the ball. You have to be able to go and head that ball. What has Souttar done? He has done it week in and week out. He goes and attacks, he’s aggressive and looking to score.

“This is where Kobayashi has learned a lot about what this game is about. Having a casual attitude in that game, you can’t get away with.

“He just gets punished because the opposition is pushing. They felt the blood from the start, they felt that they could do stuff that they haven’t done before and they’ve managed to execute it.”


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