ANGE POSTECOGLOU predicts the Celtic fans will see a lot more of Tomoki Iwata as he settles into his new career with the champions.
The midfielder, voted J-League Player of the Year last season after his exploits with the Hoops manager’s former club Yokohama F Marinos, made his second start in the 4-1 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park yesterday.
Matt O’Riley, who doubled this term’s goal tally to four with a double against Derek McInnes’ well-beaten side, has already labelled his new team-mate “a tank”, as CQN reported after the runaway triumph that restored the team’s 12-point advantage at the Premiership summit with only six games to play.
WALLOP…Tomoki Iwata fires a shot just off target as Celtic pile the misery on Kilmarnock.
Iwata made his kick-off debut in the 3-1 victory over Ross County in Dingwall earlier this month and put in an impressive shift alongside skipper Callum McGregor.
He played with a bit more freedom in Ayrshire and came so close to adding to the Hoops goal total – sitting at 102 for the season – with a venomous first-time drive from 25 yards that sizzled just wide of the keeper’s right-hand upright with Sam Walker stranded.
Asked what could be expected of the player in the run-in to the crusade and beyond, Postecoglou answered: “I think more of what you saw on this occasion. Tomoki’s just a really good footballer, he’s really well-balanced he keeps the ball well.
“He runs hard, he’s very mobile as a midfielder, he’s not just your holding midfielder, so I’m really pleased with his effort.
“For him and Yuki Kobayashi coming in, it was important to give them some game-time
“I thought both did well. We know this isn’t an easy place to play, with the pitch and the opposition, so I thought both of them handled themselves well.”
WELL PLAYED, BHOYS…Ange Postecoglou congratulates his players on another job well done.
Postecoglou also hailed his team’s ruthless approach and, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “I thought it was an outstanding first 45 minutes and as good as we’ve played all year probably.
“Great intent by the boys and a real good attitude after last week. After such a big win, it was important that we went out there with a real determined effort to show people we weren’t getting complacent – the lads did that.
“It was a brilliant first-half, in the second, it got a bit sloppy to be fair and a bit disjointed. The whole game went that way, but overall I’m really pleased.
”This team is relentless, it wants to be relentless and part of that is that when you get your opportunities, you take them and you don’t take your foot off the pedal.
“You keep going and that’s why we’ve scored the number of goals we have.”
Motherwell are next up at Parkhead on Saturday afternoon in the final game before the split.