Hyeongyu Oh verdict, The Hatate Show; 3 things we learned as Celtic punish Aberdeen

By John McGinley

February 18, 2023

Celtic have maintained a nine-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a 4-0 win at home to Aberdeen this afternoon.

Goals from captain Callum McGregor and midfield stand-out Reo Hatate sent the Bhoys on their way to victory in the first half, with the Dons offering very little in response. Hatate was again on target with 15 minutes remaining before Liel Abada rounded off the scoring very late.

A week out from a cup final and flying as high as ever in the table – what were the big talking points from today’s match? Here are three of ours…

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Hyeongyu Oh’s first Celtic start

The South Korean forward was handed his first opportunity to shine in a starting eleven today, replacing Kyogo Furuhashi as the central focal point of the Celtic attack. He got a 70-minute run-out which will undoubtedly serve him well.

As we’ve come to expect, much of the Bhoys’ creativity came down both flanks before funnelling into the middle so Daizen Maeda and Jota had busier afternoons than Oh in terms of touches and build-up play.

However, he was looking to be actively involved, coming deep to link up with teammates and allow them to make runs around him. He’s physical enough for that role certainly and didn’t look out of place in any of his duels.

He also helped Hatate find space in the box for his goal. The Japanese star did show nice footwork of his own to get a shot away, but Oh’s direct run to his left distracted Dons defenders.

Unfortunately, he didn’t get the chance to show off his finishing ability, with Celtic finding it difficult to create a clear cut opportunity for him across his time on the pitch.

Obviously, it’s far too early to make any definitive judgements on the player but the signs continue to look positive. He’s sharp, intelligent and physical. Everyone should be looking forward to seeing more.

The Hatate show, again

It’s hard to sum up Reo Hatate’s performances for Celtic right now without repeating superlatives. The simplest thing to say is that, right now, he is the best player in Scotland.

He was incredibly influential again today, helping Celtic purr in the first half before providing the moment of magic in the second half that made things comfortable at three-nil.

Footwork, skill, finishing, work rate, determination and an unquantifiable x factor – he is simply brilliant to watch at this moment in time.

If he continues in this form, it’s hard to see Celtic stopped by anyone domestically. Obviously everyone contributes to these Celtic performances but it’s Hatate who is shining brightest. What a player!

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Postecoglou gets the chance to dish out playing time

Ange Postecoglou stated in his pre-match media duties that he was looking to give more minutes to players such as Sead Haksabanovic and Tomoki Iwata – both of whom are looking for more. He got that chance today on the hour mark with Celtic cruising at 2-0.

Alongside the healthy run-out for Oh, it was a good day for the players looking to burst into starting line-ups over the coming weeks.

Celtic’s schedule right now means it’s difficult for the manager to give starts to everyone in his squad, but today showed that many more can be included without it being detrimental to the performance.

Haksabanovic in particularly looked sharp and, although he should have scored, helped set-up another substitute – Abada – to score our fourth. A great day all round!

In other news, Ange’s brilliant comments on record-breaking Celtic support as McCoist’s offer is put to him.