Celtic freedom, Majestic Maeda; 3 things we learned as Bhoys go 9 points clear with 7-0 win
Celtic have moved a massive nine points clear of Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership after a 7-0 thrashing of St Johnstone at Celtic Park.
It was a glorious performance at Paradise. Celtic were relentless in their pursuit of the three points with Ange Postecoglou even having the luxury of resting multiple players with regular substitutions.
Reo Hatate got the scoring underway before Giorgos Giakoumakis, Daizen Maeda, Josip Juranovic, Matt O’Riley and Liel Abada got in on the act.
The manager has suggested in the past that Celtic would peak towards the end of the season. This is what it looks like, folks.
Here are our 3 big talking points coming out of the fixture…
I’m not underplaying some of the football we’ve seen from the Bhoys this season but today there was a freedom about the team’s play that is actually rare from Postecoglou’s outfit.
Any pressure they might have been feeling over the last 7 months appears to have been lifted from their shoulders following the wonderful win over Rangers last week.
It wasn’t just hard work and determination today, it was party football. Jota was delightful on the wing and everyone was desperate to get towards the box and punish St Johnstone.
Every single player in that team and on that bench is enjoying their Celtic career right now. It’s impossible to keep the smile off your face watching them.
Confidence is flowing in a way we’ve not seen so far this season. We truly could play our best football in the closing stages of the season.
We are now seeing the best of Daizen Maeda in Ange Postecoglou’s system. The Japanese attacker was absolutely sensational today both on the wing and when he was forced into the centre-forward position.
His pressing and work rate are not in doubt, but there was an intelligence to his off the ball runs today and unselfishness about his play that was thrilling.
A glancing header from a glorious Jota cross didn’t hurt my perception of his performance either.
Remarkably, today was his first-ever appearance alongside Kyogo in a Celtic shirt and the initial signs were that they could work well together.
With Giorgos Giakoumakis picking up a potential hamstring injury, that bodes well for next week’s semi-final against Rangers at Hampden.
He’s going to be a hell of a signing for us.
Just on Kyogo. It would be remiss of me not to put a bit of focus on his return today. He’s been out of action since December and the ovation he got from supporters when he appeared from the bench told the whole story.
The best thing about his return is that he looks as sharp as ever. He’s comfortable on the ball, he’s picking out passes, he’s making runs.
Frankly, it looks as though he’s going to pick up from where he left off – undoubtedly the best player in Scotland.
This Celtic team is far different to the one he left. It has far more quality in it. It’s going to be exciting to see if he can harness that and show even better form than the first half of the season.
King Kyogo is out to put an exclamation mark on the season!