History tells us that a trip to the Tony Macaroni always has the potential to cause Celtic problems.
There was no such trouble this time around though as Brendan Rodgers’ side turned in one of their best performances of the season to take all three points from Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.
Even the first half loss of Joe Hart – seeing red for the first time in his career – wasn’t enough to derail our efforts, and it could be argued we played even BETTER following his departure!
Here’s three things we learned from the win on Matchday 6 of this season’s Scottish Premiership.
Daizen Maeda – The Ultimate Enigma
Dictionary.com describes an enigma as “a person of puzzling or contradictory character”.
It’s almost like the definition was created purely for our Japanese frontman.
During the win against Livingston he went ‘Full Daizen’.
Misplaced passes, but incredible workrate. Poor control, but unwavering energy.
Misses from 3 yards. Scores from 20!
On a recent episode of The Celtic Exchange Weekly I described him as the ‘best worst footballer’ I’ve ever seen.
I stand by that statement.
Daizen Maeda is a wholly unique footballer, but when it comes to Celtic’s biggest games he’s rightfully one of the first names on the teamsheet.
Matt O’Riley Is Thriving
O’Riley grabbed his 4th goal in just 6 Premiership outings against Livingston and that in itself tells you something about the form the young Dane is in.
It’s about so much more than his goals however and the 22 year old appears to be have found a new lease of life under Brendan Rodgers.
That’s not to say he wasn’t performing under Ange Postecoglou, as he certainly was, but it’s evident that he’s now playing the best football of his Celtic career to date and continues to show a maturity beyond his years.
When asked after the match about his ongoing improvements in his game he said,
“I think if I’m not improving each season then I probably have to look at what I’m doing off the pitch as well.
I dedicate my whole life to trying to improve myself as a footballer player, and as a person, so I’m glad that it’s showing, but at the same time there’s still a long way to go.”
That someone already playing so well is set to get even better is an exciting prospect for us all.
Brendan Rodgers’ Stock Is Back On The Rise
When questioned on his return to Celtic Park about the need to win some sections of the fanbase over, Brendan Rodgers replied that the only way to do so was by winning games of football.
With five wins from six Scottish Premiership games – including victories on the road at Pittodrie, Ibrox and now Livingston – the Irishman is very much meeting his end of the bargain.
Celtic were in full control of the game against Livingston, both before and after Hart’s sending off, and his management of the situation when reduced to ten men displayed all the calmness and experience we’ve come to expect.
A unique situation arose AFTER the final whistle however which done the returning manager no harm at all.
As a young Celtic fan broke the barriers in an attempt to embrace his heroes he was accosted in lets say ‘enthusiastic’ style by some of the stewards in attendance.
But just when it looked like his intentions had been dashed, up stepped the manager!
Releasing the youngster from the shackles of his captors (too dramatic?) Rodgers picked him up off the turf, put a fatherly arm around him before the two then made their way in tandem back towards the elated fans.
The moment was captured by @Georgina87x at the game and you can watch for yourself here.
Brendan having none of it 😂 pic.twitter.com/CHORWSadMN
— Georgina (@Georgina87x) September 23, 2023
The roar that greeted the pair’s triumphant return tells you that Rodgers continues to chip away at the doubters and the feeling after yesterday is that we’ll only continue to get stronger under his stewardship.
Tune in to The Final Whistle Show now at The Celtic Exchange Plus as Tino & Paddy cover all the action from a good day at the Tony Macaroni.