Ange Postecoglou looks set to play the patient game with Celtic's Yosuke Ideguchi

By David Walton

March 17, 2022

There was one decision made by Ange Postecoglou during Celtic’s win over Dundee United that hasn’t really been discussed.

Arguably, it was the most curious decision of the night in fact. With 15 minutes remaining and Celtic 2-0 ahead, Ange turned to his bench for some midfield security. You would imagine, then, that this was a perfect chance for Yosuke Ideguchi to finally get some long-awaited minutes.

Unfortunately not. Instead, Postecoglou decided to bring on the barely-seen James McCarthy. A player who we all know isn’t at the quality Celtic need right now. Ideguchi, meanwhile, had to wait 12 more minutes before coming on. He was given a measly 3 minutes as he took the place of Callum McGregor.

Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images

The former Gamba Osaka star, who signed in January, has been available since mid-February. This was after a shocking challenge against Alloa Athletic initially set him back. Back then, he looked set to be given more opportunities along with fellow new signings Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate respectively.

Yet despite being available stretching back over a month ago, he’s only been given cameo outings against St Mirren, Raith Rovers, and Dundee United respectively. He’s consistently been snubbed.

It looked as if, after he was left out of the Europa Conference League squad to face Bodo/Glimt, that he had a role to play domestically. That also hasn’t turned out to be the case. He’s the only one of our 4 new first-team signings in January that isn’t being given regular opportunities.

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Yosuke Ideguchi likely won’t feature regularly until next season

This likely isn’t down to anything overly concerning for the player. It won’t be that Ange doesn’t fancy him or that he just isn’t good enough to be playing regularly for us. This is likely just a case of the manager thinking that his time will come next season.

Ideguchi is in the same boat now as the likes of Christopher Jullien and Stephen Welsh to name a couple. Players that will be absolutely desperate to get into the close-season and make an impression then.

At the moment, the central-midfield positions remain the most competitive for Celtic. Ideguchi is directly up against the likes of Celtic captain Callum McGregor, David Turnbull, and Matt O’Riley for minutes. You can see why Ange wouldn’t want to rock the boat in such a key area at this stage of the season.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It was disappointing not to see him be given more of a shot on Monday night. That looked like the ideal time for supporters to see a bit more of what he has to offer. Handing it to McCarthy instead felt like a waste at the time. The Irishman was nothing beyond fine, but we knew what we were going to get from him. The same can’t be said for Ideguchi.

At this point, there’s no real standout game that looks ideal to throw him in. Not when we’re only 3 points clear in a title-race with only 8 games to go. Some cameos if he’s lucky perhaps, but for now it’s a case of sitting tight.

Ange is clearly waiting for him to burst on to the scene, but he won’t be giving him that opportunity until the close-season. That much has been made pretty clear in recent weeks.

In other news, Celtic hold Hampden advantage as key rival players crumble under derby hostility