Maeda scores on debut as Celtic beat


Daizen Maeda scored in just the fourth minutes of his debut as Celtic beat Hibernian 2-0 on Monday in a match that marked the resumption of the Scottish Premiership.

Josip Juranovic was also on target, with a first-half penalty, as Celtic moved to within three points of leaders and arch Glasgow rivals Rangers ahead of the champions’ match away to Aberdeen on Tuesday.

Rather than play matches behind closed doors, officials brought forward the scheduled winter break in Scottish football’s top flight last month in response to a surge in the Omicron strain of the coronavirus.

After the Scottish government relaxing restrictions on attendance at sporting events, Celtic’s three Japanese signings in the current transfer window were able to make their debuts in front of the Hoops’ loyal fans.

Reo Hatate also made his first start and Yosuke Ideguchi came off the bench while their compatriot Kyogo Furuhashi remained sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Fifth-placed Hibs should have opened the scoring but Kevin Nisbet’s shot hit the post.

That miss was punished swiftly after Josh Campbell lost the ball to Liel Abada.

Juranovic and Tom Rogic combined before unmarked centre-forward Maeda’s shot went in off goalkeeper Matt Macey.

Rogic and James Forrest went close before Celtic doubled their lead into the 25th minute.

Greg Taylor’s lofted ball posed problems for Hibs and Josh Doig was penalised for handball by referee Willie Collum after Abada flicked the ball up in the air.

Juranovic scored from the spot after sending Macey the wrong way.

Hatate showed flashed of brilliance before the break and in the second half he too might have had a debut goal only to scuff a shot wide.

Abada hit the post from close range and midfielder Ideguchi hit the wall with a free-kick before Celtic saw out the game.

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