DAIZEN MAEDA made a whirlwind start to his Celtic career when he scored within four minutes of his first appearance against Hibs at Parkhead.
The Japanese international striker arrived on Hogmanay after Ange Postecoglou’s triple raid on the J-League with midfielders Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi also making the trip to Scotland.
The trio were following in the footsteps of their fellow-countryman Kyogo Furuhashi who had joined in July in a £4.2million switch from Vissel Kobe.
THE USUAL CELEBRATION…Daizen Maeda in the pose Celtic fans want to witness a lot more of.
Maeda went straight into the firing line when the Premiership resumed on January 17 and made a fabulous first impression when he tucked an early opener behind the Edinburgh club’s keeper Matt Macey.
Josip Juranovic netted a neat penalty-kick to make sure the Hoops remained on track for their tenth title in 11 years which, of course, was duly delivered in the 1-1 draw with Dundee United at Tannadice on May 11.
The speedy Maeda went on to score eight goals in 22 games for the champions, but, remarkably, the frontman has yet to hit a league goal in the current crusade.
His sole strike this time around came when he smashed in a rebound off the keeper in the 4-1 Premier Sports League Cup victory over Ross County in Dingwall on August 31.
FLAT OUT…Daizen Maeda after his late miss against Shakhtar Donetsk.
Maeda, speaking to the Daily Record, admitted: “I haven’t scored a goal yet for Celtic in the league this season, but, hopefully, I can change that soon.
“Celtic are a very easy team to play for. I think I work hard for the team and I like to defend from the front, too. I like to be able to say I have helped my team-mates at the back, as well.
“I try my best for Celtic to be able to help at both ends of the pitch.”
There is no debating the exceptional work-rate of Maeda, but the Celtic fans are eager to see again a glimpse of that penalty-box cut and thurst he displayed inside four minutes of his debut against Hibs.
It’s a case of: Will the real Daizen Maeda please stand up?