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Has Liel Abada Just Made The Case For Starting Every Week At Celtic?

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As I said in my article earlier, as good as Kyogo was today – and I thought he was fantastic – I reckon that Liel Abada edged him as the best player on the park. I thought the Israeli was just brilliant, in both his work rate and his contribution.

We can all comment, but none of us has the right to second guess the boss when it comes to team selection. But it is the job of every player who isn’t playing every week to make a case for not being out of the side.

Today, Liel Abada did that.

It is tempting to suggest that he got into the side because Giakoumakis wasn’t on the bench, which saw Maeda dropping back to a place amongst the subs, but I think he was due a start and this was a good place to give him one.

He grabbed it. He did what a footballer in his position needs to do. Three goals and an assist is a mighty accomplishment, and it shows the strength of the squad as well as the strength of his character. Abada is easily good enough to play every week. That we’re even debating whether or not he should is quite incredible.

At every other club in Scotland – every one – he would be a guaranteed first pick.

I think he could walk into many teams in England’s top flight, and he’s still only 20.

But not here, not when there was already a player like Maeda in contention and not now when there’s a new signing to compete. And this is what I said some weeks ago; the presence of these players makes everyone else up their game.

Because if you don’t, in this squad, you will not play.

That’s the genius in what Ange has done, and let’s be honest, what the board has supported him in his efforts to do.

Ange has been backed, and there is no doubt about it.

It helps that his judgement, thus far, has been phenomenal and that he has barely put a foot wrong in the transfer market.

Liel Abada was his first signing proper.

At £3.5 million it was the sort of signing that made you sit up and take notice. His age was clearly no barrier to the club and the manager sanctioning a big transfer fee. He has repaid it all in spades though.

He has made his case for starting next weekend, and whilst I would not dare – and should not even try – to second guess Ange, it’s a good case, a solid case, and one that I can see the manager believing is enough to justify his place.

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11 comments

  • Benjamin says:

    The Huddle Breakdown podcast covered this a couple weeks ago and came to the same conclusion, albeit with additional details and a big caveat. Essentially what the data showed (courtesy of Alan Morrison & Juco James) is that Abada offers more attacking contributions than Maeda (although both are excellent, at least domestically) but Maeda offers significantly more defensively. For all domestic opponents they argued that Abada should start as Celtic are going to dominate possession and, relative to Maeda, Abada will give us a better net goal differential over 90 minutes. However against European opponents- including Rangers – they suggested Maeda might be preferable as there will be many more opportunities for his pressing and ball winning contributions to be a material factor defensively. That was all before the new signing of course, so it may be the case that both are relegated to the bench in couple weeks.

    • Cheezydee says:

      Yep cracking podcast. Alan has also started writing for the Celtic way.

      I personally don’t think there is a starting slot anywhere (apart from Hart & CCV and currently Taylor), but I think ange feels his strongest attack is maeda kyogo jota and they’ve mentioned before that jota does better right.

      Maeda jota kyogo GG Abada and then Forrest and new guy can all come in/out with little in the way of a drop in standard

  • Martin H. says:

    If he’s playing next week, he will scare the shit out of them.

  • Johnny Green says:

    We know only too well that Barisic cannot handle Abada, so let him loose on them.

  • Garry Cowan says:

    Genuinely think this could be an invincible season and the 116 (I think it is) goal season record could be in jeopardy really really do , Ange has got us playing unbelievably good football HH

    • Benjamin says:

      116 will almost certainly fall. That’s 3.05 per game. The 21 goals so far puts them at a pace to reach 159, and while they haven’t played Rangers yet, they also haven’t played St Mirren, Livingston, Motherwell, or St Johnstone. There will definitely be a few more cricket scores before the World Cup break.

  • Rodders says:

    Just over one year on from his appointment, my take is that the present manager grossly exposes the complete ineptitude of the board in re-appointing Lennon, and shame on those many fans who were happy to accept this mediocracy.

    The turnaround in that time has been outstanding, both on the park and off the park. His handling of the media, his standards both on and off the park, his player recruitment, improvement of inherited players, and his insatiable appetite for continuous improvement has galvanised this club.

    He knows that winning a 2-man league will satisfy most, in itself an achievement, but that he will be judged more by our European exploits.

    I did not go overboard on our squad from last season, we certainly needed to strengthen, and we have, and time will tell if the new recruits, as well as improvements and developments from last years squad, are enough to make a mark in Europe this season.

    However if anyone needs our full support over this and the following seasons then it is surely Ange.

  • Katana67 says:

    Jings !! Crivvens!! Help Ma Boab !!….

    That was like vintage ‘Harlem Globetrotters’ today….
    With Liel Abada starring as ‘Meadowbank….

    And Fletcher got away with a ‘Lunge–stram’ , make no mistake….!!
    The ball was already eight feet behind ‘The Pony-Tailed One’….
    When his studs made contact with BraveHart’s Noble Head…

    Anxious moments for MIB McLean (CQN passim), as he flashed only a yellow for GBH….

    You could almost see the wee cogs turning….
    “I tell you I saw Nicht , Herr Chief Inspector….Nicht!!!! ”

    Only in Sturgeon’s Scotland , can you witness Emergency NeuroSurgery Alfresco….
    At a football match….

    For once, I missed hearing Kris Baldy spouting PISH on the Sly Matchday Panel…
    Because of ‘Diary Clash…??

    Rumour has it his wig was repossessed , for falling behind with payments….!!
    Whatever happened to those fabulous EBT nest-eggs….????

    I blame Vladimir Putin….

  • Bob (original) says:

    Abada seems to have stepped up a gear this season – but others get more attention.

    If he keeps it up, he could be the star of our season, without a doubt.

    But – as it should be in any strong squad – no player should be a guaranteed starter,

    [except perhaps CalMac! 🙂 ]

  • Cheezydee says:

    There will hardly be any starters in this squad, especially up top. I expect Abada will get a run, but then be on the bench again. I think once we start going to 2 games a week we’ll see a shit in team selections to more rotation, hopefully. But I think Ange has pretty much shown us with the starting 11s so far what he feels is his best 11.

    I’d like to see players get rested more, when double games start coming the players start playing 1 a week where we can. I’m no pro though, maybe players would rather 60/30 split every game

  • Joe Mccann says:

    Liel in the 1st half lost or wasted possession on 7 occasions at the top end of the pitch. Please check if you dont believe. One of these losses of possession actually led to the ball breaking to Kayago for his superb 2nd goal. Liel needs to cultivate better composure. The reason he had not been starting games this season. If he can find this composure he will be a world beater
    If not it will be a shame. Hopefully it will be the latter.

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