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“Looks The Real Deal”, “Proper Good” – Celtic Fans React To Iwata’s Cup Final Display

All the talk since Celtic lifted the Viaplay League Cup at Hampden on Sunday afternoon against bitter rivals ‘Rangers’ has mostly been about realising the difference in quality between both teams, and Michael Beale’s team selection and tactics for the game.

In terms of individual players for Celtic, guys like Mooy, Hatate and CCV have been picking up the plaudits for their performances and contribution to the victory, and rightly so, because they were tremendous, along with a good few others in our team on Sunday.

But one man who came on and went quietly but very effectively about his business hasn’t been mentioned at all in the aftermath of the final in the mainstream media, and that is our new Japanese bhoy, Tomoki Iwata.

He came on in the 76th minute of the match, a difficult period of the game for us as Morelos had just pulled one back for them 12 minutes prior and they were putting us under pressure in their chase for an equaliser.

Iwata came on and really helped us regain control of the game.

He got about the pitch with great desire and intensity, putting in tackles, breaking up their play and also starting off attacks for us.

All the talk from our rivals has been ‘Raskin this’ and ‘Raskin that’, yet, it was Iwata’s intense pressing of Raskin that made him lose possession of the ball for Abada to to then get it away from him and pass it onto O’Riley, who then completed the triangle pass by laying it back off to Iwata.

Iwata was then able to stride forward with the ball and play a brilliant cross field pass into the feet of Haksabanovic who was then able to drive forward until being fouled by Cantwell who was booked for the challenge once play has stopped, but it was the brightness of Iwata that kept the play going, running forward to pick up the loose ball, playing a brilliant first-time pass into the path of O’Riley who should have made it 3-1 but ended up hitting a tame shot at McGregor.

I think Ange’s plan for next season’s Champions League games in particular will be to play the double pivot with McGregor and Iwata playing there together to give us more protection, with either Mooy, O’Riley or Hatate starting in front of them, because he has talked previously about doing that, as I think as it would allow us to continue to play our attacking style of football, but at the same time make us a bit more solid in these testing games in Europe.

The posters on Kerrydale Street also seem very impressed by what they saw of Iwata on Sunday.

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