Celtic assistant manager John Kennedy is liking the look of Yuki Kobayashi

By Giuseppe Labellarte

February 15, 2023

Celtic assistant manager John Kennedy has praised Bhoys defenders Yuki Kobayashi and Stephen Welsh for their contributions this season.

The Celtic coach was speaking to the Daily Record about the Hoops’ improvements at the back.

Kennedy took stick for Celtic’s defensive failings during their failed 10-in-a-row bid a couple of years ago.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Things have changed massively since then, the Bhoys reclaiming the title last year and in pole position for this year’s trophy.

Celtic’s defence has been watertight too, with just 18 goals conceded in the league this season.

Kennedy acknowledged that the first-choice centre-backs have been key to the Hoops’ stability at the back.

However, he also rightly recognised the efforts made by Kobayashi and Welsh, the current back-ups.

“It’s good to have two strong characters like Cameron and Carl,” said Kennedy. “They have been key to the stability at the back.

“They’ve played a lot together and you can see the relationship blossoming. It will get even better in time.

“Alongside that we have Yuki, who has looked good since he has come in, and Stephen Welsh has also contributed a lot as well.

“The squad is in a good place defensively. There’s been some rotation and changes at times, but everyone has come in and contributed.

“The manager has instilled in the team the fact it doesn’t matter if you play 10 minutes or 90 minutes, you have to contribute to the team.”

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The 22-year-old has made two appearances for Ange Postecoglou’s side so far.

While it’s still too early to make an in-depth assessment, Kobayashi has done well and should be able to step in at the level required if rotation or replacement is needed.