Before yesterday, Ibrox fans liked to taunt us with the possibility that our Japanese players – all but Hatate, who demolished them at Celtic Park – just aren’t that great on the big stage.
They pointed out that neither of the strikers had yet scored against them.
Well, you can strike another achievement off the list for Kyogo and Maeda, because both have now proved that they are decisive footballers no matter the environment.
For Maeda this is the latest step on his road to cult hero status with the fans.
To say that he had left many of our supporters unconvinced prior to recent form is an understatement. I’m happy to say I’ve been defending him for many months, because even to the untrained eye it should be obvious that he brings energy and drive to our team.
But recently, he’s really stepped up a gear and started adding more goals to his game.
It wasn’t just the finish yesterday; it was everything about that goal. He is a superstar in the making, a player of genuine quality who a year after signing is now coming into his best form.
And what an asset to our club this boy is proving to be.
Kyogo’s value to the club we all knew about anyway, and he has now broken through that important first goal barrier as well, and he did it in a high pressure moment which has probably wrapped the title up for us.
Don’t underestimate what that will do to his confidence going into these fixtures in particular, and in the way the opposition reacts to him.
These guys had a big, big day yesterday and even with the side as a whole not entirely on its game what else do you want? We had two shots on target and these boys buried them.
We’re doing that more now, putting away the clear-cut chances we create, and the rewards are obvious.
Kyogo is now on 15 goals, the same as Lawrence Shankland at Hearts but with a much better minutes to goals ratio; our Japanese bhoy gets on the scoresheet every 78 minutes according to the stats.
In others, better than a goal per game.
His shots to goals conversion ratio – 38% – is also the best in the league.
He’s a player of the year contender.
And you know what? I’m still not convinced that he’s playing at his very best.
I’m not convinced that this team is playing at its very best and yesterday they were nowhere near it. It’s on days like that where your big players have to perform … and our Japanese bhoys did just that.