Two “Fringe Players” Make Their Case For Ibrox As Ange’s Green Machine Rolls On.

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It is one of the great truisms of football, and frequently discussed on this site, that the most important thing for any player to do is grab the opportunities that come their way, because for many of them there won’t be too many of those chances at the moment that really matters. This isn’t about squad rotation, or giving them game time … I mean those times, on the eve of big events, when they can grab the brass ring and hold onto it.

Last night, we saw two of them come to the fore.

Not fringe players, as such, but guys who you might not have considered to be automatic selections for Ibrox. Yet the way they played … and the way they’ve been playing lately … they both have a real chance now.

First, let’s talk about Maeda.

He would have been a name on many people’s lips even without covering every inch of the pitch last night and scoring a wonderful goal. He does so many things right. He does so many things … period. He covers every inch of the pitch. It is exhausting watching him sometimes. Playing against him must be far worse.

The Ibrox team is struggling badly with injuries and lack of fitness in general. There would have been a case for putting Maeda in there regardless. He has the skill-set to really do them harm and I would love to see Tavernier play high up the pitch against this guy, because he will be destroyed time and time again by Maeda’s pace and athleticism.

Jota is a fantastic player, and the prospect of watching him on one wing and Abada on the other, as they jointly terrorise the Ibrox club is tantalising. But for the moment I’d go with Abada and Maeda and be very confident that it’s the winning combination.

Before we get to the second player let’s have a discussion about a third; this is an argument I genuinely did not expect to have to make.

Reo Hatate is a revelation on the right side, and I would be very relaxed about playing him at right back because he is a ball winner, an energetic guy who can run up and down all day and moving him from the midfield gives us the option of doing what I’m sure must be obvious, and on the manager’s mind.

Which is to play Aaron Mooy, who was not just fantastic last night but at the weekend and in every game we’ve seen him in lately. His World Cup success, which is at one of the highest levels on which any player will ever be asked to perform, has built on an increasing sense that this is a footballer of very significant quality … he has fortified that view.

I get the feeling that Ibrox is the stage he’s been waiting for.

His ability to spot a pass and ping the ball exactly where he wants it will build on Abada and Kyogo’s ability to make that little darting run that pulls a defender out of position for Mooy to take advantage.

If Kyogo makes the initial run before he releases the ball, watch him direct it to Abada, with precision. If Abada makes the run first Kyogo will be in on goal before the Ibrox defence knows it.

Which is to say nothing of what he will do whenever he spots Maeda rampaging up the wing. There is no player in the Ibrox back four who can catch this guy, and so as long as Mooy’s passing is timed perfectly any time they are caught up the pitch the presence of Mooy in that midfield is going to supply them with enough nightmare fuel for a hundred Halloween’s.

I think these are massive decisions for us, and what must trouble Ibrox is that they really aren’t faced with choices on this level. Enforced absences, maybe … in fact, almost certainly.

But not genuine choices made of a surfeit of options.

And this is why I fancy us strongly, and why most Celtic fans do.

Last night, one of our allegedly lesser players showed that only lack of game time has stopped him from playing a huge role, and our Japanese winger showed that his own confidence is sky high.

This is some squad we have here.

I love that the boss has these kind of decisions to make.

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  • Thewildgoose says:

    It doesn’t matter who we play, Beaton and his var brothers will not be beaten at ibrox.

  • Bob (original) says:

    Must admit, pre-break I thought we could play better options than Maeda and Mooy,

    but they are both certainly on their games now, and look like regular starters.

    Nice problem to have though: competition for all positions keeps the squad on their toes.

    No chance of complacency… 🙂

  • Geoff says:

    Boyd said Ange has a real problem on his hands selecting a side for Monday.
    Oh how Mick would love a problem like that.
    If Juranovic wants to play he should start.
    Toss up between O’Riley and Hatate.

  • TC says:

    Cannot be serious starting this game with Jota on the bench.

    • Geoff says:

      Think Ange will go for the work rate of Maeda over Jota who is more likely to come on and change a game if things not going our way.
      Just my opinion HH

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Glad of the squad players we have tae choose from. Any of them sittin on that bench can step in. Personally and just imo, nothin wrang wi bein quietly confident or optimistic, tho didnae like the ‘bring on the rangers’ chantin at the end last night. Leave all that shit tae the ibrox support, thats usually their ‘area’. Sounds like over confidence and that kind of stuff has a habit of comin back and bitin yer arse big time. The ibrox mob should know. Just sayin !

    • Johnny Green says:

      I didn’t like that chant either Kevan, I mean who the fk are Rangers?
      Bring on the zombies would be much more appropriate.

  • Scud Missile says:

    We will need at least a 3 goal cushion lead we need here to hold on as they will get every decision in their favour we know that.
    Penalties galore for them yes that’s plural maybe a goal or 2 chopped off for us through VAR as they will need them to stay in sight of us at any cost be that cheating or any other shenanigans they can get away with.

  • Jackson says:

    Not so sure about Abada James.. he was very poor last night and wondered why he stayed on pitch so long….Jamesy did much more. Mooy motm and is a stick on for Mordor…..

    • Kevan McKeown says:

      @ jackson. Abada for me. Thing is wi James Forrest, nae disrespect, tho where this fixture’s concerned and although he’s scored the odd goal, he’s usually anonymous. Dont think he’ll start anyway, no with Abada’s recent record against them. Would agree wi Mooy tho, he seems tae be hittin really good form just now. Its a ‘good’ prob we have. Whoever Ange puts out, its a great chance tae effectively all but end their title challenge right now.

  • Dolphin Boy says:

    I agree with Jackson’s comments on Abada he was indeed very poor last night. As for MOM I’m stuck between two choices Mooy and Maeda who’s performance last night in the 1st half was simply mind blowing, However it’s a difficulty that I’m delighted to have.

  • Frank Connelly says:

    O’Reilly looks lethargic to me. would go with Reo Callum Ann Mooy.
    As long as we deal with the cross balls coming in a think we will be fine.On a different point do we have a corner coach at the club. Havent seen us threaten teams in this area all year other than the Welsh goal early in the season.

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