SPL

Alistair Johnston hails ‘machine’ Daizen Maeda after Celtic’s win at Livingston

By Sports Desk September 23, 2023

Alistair Johnston hailed team-mate Daizen Maeda as a “machine” after the Celtic forward capped a fine performance against Livingston with his side’s third goal.

Brendan Rodgers’ men were ahead through a Reo Hatate penalty when Joe Hart was sent off for a foul on Mo Sangare.

However, Celtic extended their advantage through Matt O’Riley before claiming a third from Maeda in stoppage time.

Johnston hailed the Japanese international as an inspiration for his tireless running.

The Celtic full-back said: “He’s a machine. That’s the simplest way to look at it.

“You look back at the Rangers match and he was just flying around the pitch for 90 minutes and it was the same in this match as well. He’s got an unbelievable engine.

“He’s a nightmare to play or train against. Just ask any of our full-backs who have to go up against him. He’s just constant.

“He’s like this every day, which makes it really difficult for us, although it’s good to train against a guy like that. You can never take a minute off.

“He really does count for two on that side as you think you bypass him with the ball and he’s doubling down, pressing the guy again.

“It’s amazing to watch from my side across the pitch as you know the guy doesn’t know what’s coming as all of a sudden Daizen is there again. He’s a joy to have in your team, he’s such a weapon.

“He just helps us out in so many ways; the attacking side we see the goal he scored in the 90th minute and then the defensive side as well. He’s really special to have.”

Livingston manager David Martindale praised Celtic’s performance and rubbished the notion that they have not been as good since Ange Postecoglou left the club.

“I watched them on Tuesday (in the Champions League against Feyenoord) and I thought they were fantastic in the press, trying to get the ball back,” he said.

“There have been a few things floating about ‘they are not the same’ or ‘they’ve not clicked’, but I think you saw a wee bit of a change with the Champions League and then today.

“I think they showed true character and true spirit when they went down to 10 men. But we shoot ourselves in the foot by giving away a really avoidable second goal. When I look at all three goals, they’re really avoidable.”

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