Scott McDonald on squad integration and how new Japanese Bhoys can push for success at Celtic
Scott McDonald believes it’s essential that the new Japanese contingent integrate themselves in with the Celtic squad from the off.
Celtic recently secured the signings of Daizen Maeda, Yosuke Ideguchi, and Reo Hatate from the J-League. The moves have been met with huge waves of excitement from the Celtic support. This is clearly generated from the performances of Kyogo Furuhashi in the first half of the campaign.
Much is expected of the new trio from the off given the reputations they all arrive with. Celtic kick off the second half of the campaign against Hibernian on January 17th, and we all hope the 3 of them will be involved.
However, speaking exclusively to 67HailHail, former Celtic striker McDonald outlined the importance of the manager ensuring the new group aren’t isolated in training.
“I really hope they buy into the culture. What I will say is Japanese culture and the personality of them individually, they’re all very respectful types of characters. They always are. But I hope they bring their own characters and that youthfulness.
“We seen that a little bit in my time with Koki Mizuno. He was a little bit younger than Naka. He had a laugh with the lads and tried to speak the language. I think that’s important – that they don’t all get put into the side and there’s 4 of them just sitting in a corner with the translator and whatever else.
“Ange isn’t stupid. But they’ve got to integrate them. With 1 you’re okay because he has to just do his bit, he might be quiet and have his translator there like Naka had. The translator would have his banter with the boys. And it’s important off the pitch that they get that right.
“I think that’s going to be key to the success of these players as well – not just what they do on it, but can they integrate with the players that are already there and create that team unity.”
Off-field comfortability essential for new Celtic signings
Scott hits an absolutely essential point on the head here. We’ve been talking so much about the kind of impact the 3 new players can have on the pitch. However, how they integrate themselves within the squad off of it will be just as important.
After all, if they aren’t clicking in training then we can hardly expect much success when the games actually kick-off again. We need a rapport to be struck up between the Japanese Bhoys and the rest of their Celtic teammates.
Thankfully, we have a dressing room absolutely packed with leadership qualities. The likes of Callum McGregor will have a huge role to play as captain in ensuring they’re settling in well. Not to mention you have Joe Hart in there who’ll have experienced playing with all sorts of players with differing cultures.
But it’s not as if Ange doesn’t know this. He’s spent time as a manager in Japan after all. He’ll be well aware of the need to ensure they blend in with the rest of the group and get themselves involved.
This isn’t something you would expect to be a problem. Not with the players and the leadership qualities we have among our ranks.
Hopefully, that shows in the next few weeks when we see them in action for the first time.
In other news, Ewan Henderson explains why he had to leave Celtic for Hibernian