From the moment the team was announced, and we knew Ange was giving many from the second 11 a game, a positive result was always a tall ask. Still, the manager’s immediate objective was served: several fringe players experienced a thorough examination.
Yuki Kobayashi was caught in the headlights. His passing was erratic, he was behind the defensive line at the first goal and was outmuscled when allowing his opponent a header at the second. I have heard the same verdict on him repeatedly since full time.
The player is 22 years old. There is a reason he is at Celtic which was not evident on Saturday. He is not here because of his aerial dominance, or composure under pressure, but be clear, there are reasons, he was not randomly plucked from the other side of the globe.
When I was young and Jock Stein was doing his thing, Celtic fans believed their club knew how to develop young talent, whereas I repeatedly heard, “Rangers ruin young players.” This was almost certainly true, what else would explain two clubs fishing from much the same pond returning such dramatically different catches?
Success with a 22-year-old footballer, is not always finding the finished article (Virgil van Dijk was 21 when he arrived at Celtic and is a clear exception), it is more often how to build on the resources the player already has and turn him into the finished article.
If we throw a young player into an environment which they are clearly unprepared for, then dispose of him, we will ruin more talent than will survive to enhance the club’s reputation as an attractive destination.
Yuki is not ready for the physical side of the game, which might be something we can work on. We can certainly work on his composure. He has another four games this season then a summer to do upper body work. I have seen nothing to suggest he is a future star, but you and I really need to work on how we view player development.
On the result. If we sell Carter-Vickers, Kyogo, Johnston, Taylor and Maeda – and we sign no one – next season is going to be nip and tuck.
Also, on the Ibrox Third Goalkeeper Rule. If a defender’s hand or arm is on the ground when it collides with the ball inside the penalty box, no penalty is awarded. If the ball hits the outstretched hand of a falling defender inside the box, a penalty should be awarded. While he was falling and before he landed, Connor Goldson’s outstretched hand collided with the ball inside his penalty box. The referee – and more importantly VAR – declined to award a penalty, in clear contravention of the rules.