Ange Postecoglou claims there was nothing fortuitous about Daizen Maeda’s unusual goal in Celtic’s convincing 3-0 cinch Premiership win over Livingston at Parkhead.
Left-back Greg Taylor eventually breached a resolute Livi defence in the 29th minute with a fine drive and three minutes later Japan attacker Maeda added a second when Livingston defender Ayo Obileye’s clearance came off his head from close range and rebounded into the net.
Fellow countryman Kyogo Furuhashi scored a third just before the break to keep Celtic nine points clear of Rangers at the top of the table.
Postecoglou said: “How many runs does Daizen make in a game? Anyone who watches Daizen sees he’s constantly making runs and constantly in those areas.
“There were a couple of times he lacked a bit of composure but he’s always there and it’s an enormous effort – that’s why he gets his goals.
“I’ve known him for a while now and sometimes people say he’s fortuitous but it’s on the back of working his backside off when we have the ball. He gets the rewards from that.
“I thought it was another strong performance. We knew it would be a tough challenge, trying to create opportunities in the game.
“I thought we were really good, we had a lot of possession but we used our possession really well, asking questions of the opposition, be threatening with our running.
“We scored three good goals, second half wasn’t any easier because they still sat in and made it difficult.
“It wasn’t going to be an open game but we still controlled the game well and had some half chances in the second half.
“We earned the opening goal, it’s easy in these games when you have a lot of possession to get into a monotonous rhythm which allows them to be comfortable. We didn’t do that, we kept asking questions, we kept making runs and trying to find openings.
“Eventually teams will crack or we’ll get the quality we need to score our goals. Right from the start we handled it well.”
Livi boss David Martindale had no qualms about the defeat but believes his side did themselves no favours.
He said: “Celtic were worthy winners, to be honest. I thought they played some nice football at times.
“It was a really difficult game for us to lay a glove on them. But I did think we gifted them two goals. The second and third goals we’ve got to do a lot better defensively.
“They’ve got international players. I’ve seen them do that to Real Madrid – they were probably the better team in that game for 60 minutes.
“You’ve got to take your hat off to Ange. What he’s done at Celtic, he’s done it incredibly well.
“It’s all right having money. It’s how you spend it and then it’s how you coach the players you bring in.”