The first match of the new year is always one tinged with excitement. Usually it’s a chance for the fans to see some new signings make their first appearances for the club.
Oliver Burke started for the Hoops in our third round Scottish Cup tie against Airdrie. Timothy Weah had to settle for a place on the bench. Burke, having been brought in on loan from West Brom was given the lone striker role. It would be interesting seeing how he would cope in his first start in a number of months. Weah would undoubtedly feature later on in the match.
Burke started well enough. It was easy to see he isn’t best suited to playing as a striker. He’s much better out wide and utilising his pace and power against opposition full backs. Airdrie set up with a deep back line, making it hard for anyone to get in behind.
Burke showed some nice touches and intelligent movement, albeit against a robust defence and playing slightly out of position. He was snatching at chances and on another day could have had a few goals. It was easy to see he hasn’t played regular competitive football of late. However, after a few weeks of getting to know his new teammates and building match fitness, Burke could become a significant player for us for the remainder of the season.
Timothy Weah was to make his much-anticipated debut for the Celts from the bench, replacing two-goal Scott Sinclair just after the hour mark. The U.S international and son of legendary former AC Milan and Liberia striker George Weah, Weah junior has come with a big reputation. Weah started wide left, coming inside at any opportunity. It remains to be seen if he’ll play in the number nine role. However, it didn’t take the on-loan PSG youngster to make an impact.
An excellent pass through the Airdrie defence from Dedryck Boyata seen Weah break the offside trap. Weah, showing incredible pace to make the pass, managed to poke the ball past onrushing keeper David Hutton to make it 3-0 to the Hoops. You could see the delight on the youngster’s face, having scored his first of hopefully many for the Hoops. Weah showed some flashes of brilliance, and I’m sure he’ll be a significant asset going into this second half of the season.
It’s usually very early to tell if a player will make an impact after just one game. However, Oliver Burke and Timothy Weah are challenging that myth. Both are still very young but come with big reputations. Both are full internationalists. Oliver Burke has accumulated around £30m worth of transfer fees, having been signed by RB Leipzig before he left them for West Brom. Weah is highly rated at PSG, one of Europe’s top clubs. Both showed on Saturday that they can have a major impact between now and the end of the season and challenge the players already in the squad for a first team place. And, with the imminent arrival of Ivorian striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo to the club and potentially another 2-3 in my opinion, this transfer window could prove pivotal in the hunt for 8 in a row.