Celtic were victorious at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Saturday afternoon as goals from Reo Hatate, Matt O’Riley, and Daizen Maeda saw off Livingston. Among a number of impressors throughout the match was the latter.

Maeda never stopped for the Hoops and got his reward late on with a magnificent goal. Manager Brendan Rodgers quipped that Celtic are never ten down to ten when the Japan international is on the pitch as he carries out the work of two players.

This indeed appeared to be the case after Joe Hart saw red. It was the third sending-off in two games for the champions, and this is something Maeda is concerned about. He said (Glasgow Times): “But that was the second game in a row we had to play with fewer players and that is something we are going to have to think about.”

Daizen Maeda Celtic
23rd September 2023; Almondvale Stadium, Livingston, Scotland: Scottish Premiership Football, Livingston versus Celtic; Jason Holt of Livingston tackles Daizen Maeda of Celtic

The Bhoys went down to nine last Tuesday evening, and it undoubtedly cost them. Against Livi’, however, things were different and they were not punished. This is something Maeda touched on: “We are going to have to think about how we manage situations – because if that was a Champions League game it would have been even more difficult. I’m happy with the victory but we have a lot to think about as a team. We don’t want to have these situations again.”

Injuries will detriment a team’s performance, similar to red cards, but the latter is something that can be controlled. Due to this, the Celts will need to play in a more clever manner, says Maeda: “When it comes to yellow and red cards – that is something we can manage. We need to play intelligently. We are doing well right now but we have to be careful not to get players sent off as it makes things difficult.”

Although the 25-year-old admitted going down to ten is tough, it didn’t affect his team’s display at the weekend. Every man buckled down after Hart was ordered off, and played their part in a notable win. What needs to be looked at going forward, however, is judgment in high-octane situations.


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