Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers praised Oh Hyeon-gyu for seizing his chance after the South Korea striker hit a double in a 4-1 win over Hibernian.
Oh got the final touch as Celtic opened the scoring from a fifth-minute set-piece and he ran on to Callum McGregor’s ball down the channel, brushed off Will Fish and slotted home in the 55th minute, shortly before making way for Kyogo Furuhashi.
It was only the 22-year-old’s second start under Rodgers while the Celtic manager brought holding midfielder Tomoki Iwata and winger Mikey Johnston into his line-up for the first time.
After his side maintained their eight-point lead over Rangers in the cinch Premiership, Rodgers said: “I said this was a month where players would get a chance. Tommo came in and did really well, Oh was excellent.
“He was a really good reference for the team, his hold-up play, in the box he’s there and obviously his second goal shows he can also run in behind.
“Great strength and then really good composure. I was really pleased with him. He came into the game and did really well.
“Mikey has been better off the bench but he deserved his start because of the impact he has had. It’s just being more aggressive in his running but he deserved his start.
“Especially in this period of the season, you need to have freshness at the top end of the field in particular. Changing two out of the front three gave us that freshness.
“Kyogo can’t play every game but when you have someone like Oh who can come in and make an impact, it’s good.”
Rodgers also handed Cameron Carter-Vickers a rest in the second half after the defender reported a minor hamstring issue, while Greg Taylor came off after playing through illness.
The champions also netted through Matt O’Riley’s header and Luis Palma’s penalty but Hibs deserved some reward for their enterprising play and got it when substitute Christian Doidge netted from close range.
Hibs head coach Nick Montgomery had some frustration over referee John Beaton’s VAR-assisted penalty award for Lewis Stevenson’s challenge on Alistair Johnston.
“I said to the boys at half-time, both the goals were really avoidable,” he said. “I think we probably had the two best chances of the first half, two one-on-ones, two big saves from Joe Hart.
“Second half we started quite brightly and for me it’s a soft penalty. The crowd shout for it and he goes to the VAR and he looks at it in slow motion.
“We have probably had five or six of those incidents in my time at the club and we have never had a penalty. It never goes to VAR.
“The player that went down didn’t think it was a penalty, he said that to the boys.
“If we are going to go to VAR and have a look at every incident, there’s going to be a lot more free-kicks, a lot more cards, a lot more penalties, because when you slow everything down there is always some element where you could change your decision.
“Three-nil away at Celtic, two soft goals and a penalty, and we didn’t take our chances, so it’s an uphill task.
“But I was really proud of the effort, the way we played. The boys were brave and we had some really good passages of play.”