Ange sees 'significant game time' ahead for Celtic newcomers; signs in training are good

By Giuseppe Labellarte

February 17, 2023

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou reckons Tomoki Iwata and Yuki Kobayashi will get “significant game time” before the season’s over.

The Hoops boss, speaking to the official club website, says both newcomers have been outstanding in Lennoxtown training.

Celtic signed Iwata from Yokohama F Marinos in December 2022 on a loan deal with an obligation to buy.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Kobayashi signed a month earlier, joining up with his new teammates in Portugal during the World Cup break.

Both players became eligible to play for the Hoops in January, and they’ve both made two appearances apiece.

Iwata and Kobayashi both played in Celtic’s 5-0 Scottish Cup fourth-round win over Greenock Morton in January. The former also got five minutes off the bench in the 3-0 Premiership win over Livingston earlier this month. Meanwhile, the latter played the full 90 minutes in the 4-0 win over St Mirren in January.

‘Training really well’

While neither player has been a regular starter, Ange urged them to keep up the good work in training and remain patient. The boss also praised fellow new arrivals Alistair Johnston and Oh Hyeon-gyu ahead of the Aberdeen clash.

“They’ve all fitted in really well, which is important,” Ange told the Celtic website. “Alistair has already made a meaningful contribution. Oh has started to get some game time which is great for us.

“With Tomoki and Yuki, they are training really well. I haven’t quite got them the game time at the minute but I’ve no doubt they will play significant game time before the end of the year with the way they’re training.

“The key thing for me is they have settled in well and are in good physical conditioning which I think means when they get the opportunity they will be ready to go.

“We’re in a funny period for us with a game a week and not many injuries but I’ve no doubt over the next three weeks we will change things up a bit and they will get some significant game time.”

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Ange with the Midas touch

Iwata and Kobayashi have both looked good when called upon, which bodes well for their future at Celtic.

It’s good to hear Ange praise them – as well as the other January recruits – and pledge more game time before the season’s out.

Ange has struck gold with pretty much every signing he’s made. And it looks the case with the January cohort too.

No doubt we’ll see Iwata and Kobayashi impress in green and white further over the coming months.

In other news, Ange Postecoglou responds to potential Celtic Japan tour as reports from Asia intensify.