Rumoured Celtic target Ado Onaiwu nets hat-trick on first international start

By Euan Davidson

June 15, 2021

If Ado Onaiwu was building a case for Ange Postecoglou to sign him for Celtic, he bolstered it today.

Japan destroyed Kyrgyzstan 5-1, with Onaiwu netting a ridiculous six-minute hat-trick. It was almost a perfect hat-trick, too; the first was a right-footed penalty, the third a header, but the middle goal hit off his thigh and nestled into the back of the net. You can watch highlights here.

The other two goals came from Sasaki and Asano, with Japan saving their strikes for quick flurries. It was an impressive outing for the Yokohama F Marinos striker, who was tentatively linked to Celtic this week.

At just 25, Onaiwu has impressed Japanese national team selectors and supporters alike. So far for Marinos, the striker has 13 goals in 23 appearances [Transfermarkt]. It’s sensational form, following his breakout season in 2019 with Oita Trinita.

Onaiwu is also evidence that Postecoglou is adept at attracting talent from within a league. That could be very handy for Celtic going forward, with some excellent technical players coming through the ranks across Scotland. Glasgow Live claimed Onaiwu was being linked with a move to rejoin Postecoglou, while Onaiwu himself has sung the praises of his former boss.

An exciting seven days for Celtic fans is about to get underway

As quoted in the Daily Record, Onaiwu said:

“I always knew if I kept playing well and scoring goals for Yokohama, I would get a chance with my national team. And I owe this to my manager Ange Postecoglou who has left the club this week.

“I have enjoyed an excellent relationship with him, and he has been a huge influence in my career. I don’t mind admitting that when he first came to the club, I was confused with his training because it was of such high intensity.”

“Grateful for his guidance”; Ado Onaiwu on Postecoglou

Onaiwu continued:

“But because of that, he improved my game immeasurably and you can see I got my rewards by playing against Serbia. I was able to speak to Mr Postecoglou before the match against Serbia; [and] thanked him for all his help and for helping me grow as a player. I will always be grateful for his guidance in my career.”

Ado Onaiwu taking on Kyrgyzstan / (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

While it’s not his first cap – which came against Serbia – it’s his first start, and a very impressive one, too. Showing his range of abilities, including penalty taking and heading the ball, Onaiwu will have antennae twitching with his accomplished performance.

Whether Celtic are actually interested or not isn’t known as of yet. However, if this was an audition, it’s one he’s passed with flying colours.

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