Three points in it. Now our rivals have to respond.
But the pressure is on them, and not just because we won but because we won comfortably, and because the new signings slotted into the side like a hand slipping into a glove.
Maeda got his opener after three minutes and for the whole of the first half Hatate ran the show.
I thought he was absolutely magnificent.
There are things which are obvious already having watched that; first is that the manager knows exactly what he is doing in signing these guys. Ange’s eye for a player is clearly as good as that of any manager we’ve had in a long, long time. He would not have been in the least doubt about these guys before he sanctioned the buys.
Now the rest of us know what he saw.
As I’ve said before, it is essential for a new striker to get off the mark quickly, and you cannot get much better than what Maeda did tonight. He was so, so sharp in that moment.
The goal was just what he needed and what the fans needed, especially after Hibs had almost shocked us with their opening move. It sums this team up that we went right up the pitch and put the ball in the net.
That’s what this team is all about. That’s what this team does.
The 75 minutes on which Maeda and Hatate were on showed us precisely what they could do; they will be massive assets for us, especially I think the midfielder although you can’t ask more than a striker who gets one clear-cut chance and puts it in the net.
The last fifteen minutes belonged to the subs; although Giakoumakis looked sharp when he came on, nobody shone like the new boys did in the first half. We got some rough-housing from Hibs late in the game, but that aside they never really laid a glove on us.
It was a very decent performance from the whole team, but it was the new bhoys from Japan who shone and it was no surprise that Hatate won the man of the match award.
It will be the first of many, because we have another quality footballer in this guy.