Ange Postecoglou set for ideal week to hand Yuki Kobayashi his Celtic debut

By Lewis Laird

January 18, 2023

The next two games could offer Ange Postecoglou the ideal opportunity to hand January signing Yuki Kobayashi his Celtic debut.

The young defender became the first new addition to the Hoops squad, signing from J-League side Vissel Kobe on a 5-year deal.

It was certainly an exciting move for the Celtic support to see another signing from Japan. But this time, a highly regarded defender.

Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images

Kobayashi was quickly followed by Canadian right-back Alistair Johnston, and both players quickly got to work with their new teammates.

On the 1st of January, the two players were officially able to make their Hoops debut and were quickly thrust into the Celtic squad for the visit to Ibrox the following day.

The 22-year-old has been in each of Ange Postecoglou’s squad since that day, for the two games against Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership and Viaplay Cup.

However, unlike his fellow winter signing Alistair Johnston, Kobayashi is still to make his debut in the green and white Hoops.

But the next few days could give Postecoglou the ideal opportunity to hand the Japanese centre-ack his first appearance for the Bhoys.

Next two games could provide Ange Postecoglou with ideal opportunity to hand Kobayashi Celtic debut.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

As we head into the next two games, Celtic will be at home in both Scottish Premiership and Scottish Cup action.

First up is the visit of St Mirren to Celtic Park later on this evening before we play host to Scottish Championship side Greenock Morton on Saturday.

Changes are expected to take place in tonight’s game, with Ange Postecoglou revealing Saturday’s victory at Hampden Park had taken its toll on several members of the squad.

With the Hoops aiming to maintain their brilliant start to the campaign, you wouldn’t imagine wholesale changes will be made to the starting 11, despite the Celtic manager’s comments yesterday.

But next Saturday’s game could provide the former Socceroos boss with the ideal chance to do just that, handing some of his fringe options an opportunity against Greenock Morton.

With both of these fixtures in mind, either tonight’s games or the upcoming Scottish Cup tie could give Postecoglou the ideal opportunity to hand Yuki Kobayashi his first appearance for the club.

Photo by Richard Callis/MB Media/Getty Images

Admittedly, it seems extremely unlikely that we will see Kobayashi come in from the start at Paradise, against Stephen Robinson’s side, with Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers expected to continue at the centre of defence.

However, if the Bhoys find themselves in a strong position against the Buddies, then substituting the Japanese defender in the second half might not be the worst idea.

I am sure Ange Postecoglou will be in no rush this evening to hand the former Vissel Kobe man his debut, with it looking more likely that his first appearance could come against Morton at the weekend.

Saturday’s fixture against the second-tier side is likely to have been earmarked by the Celtic coaching staff as a good opportunity to introduce the youngster.

Either way, it feels as though Yuki Kobayashi is edging closer to his first Celtic appearance after featuring on the bench and a few hard weeks in training.

Personally, I am excited to see what the defender has to offer, whether that be off the bench tonight or from the start on Saturday, if that chance is handed to Kobayashi.

In other news, The Celtic support answers the call again with second sell-out in 24 hours; but Celtic Park solution needs to be found.