Scottish champions Celtic take on Motherwell this evening in what will be an intriguing League Cup quarter-final clash at Fir Park, with manager Ange Postecoglou likely contemplating whether to shuffle his pack for this midweek encounter.
Amid a hectic run of games both domestically and in Europe, the 57-year-old may have little choice but to make notable alterations against Steven Hammell’s side, with there no doubt a number of fringe assets desperate to prove their worth.
One man who is in urgent need of game time is Japan international, Yosuke Ideguchi, with the midfielder having endured a wretched time at Parkhead to date due to injury, after joining the Old Firm giants back in January.
The 26-year-old’s capture currently appears something of a disaster as far as the Hoops are concerned, with the £15.5k-per-week dud having been restricted to just six appearances in all competitions since his arrival.
The £675k-rated menace was cruelly struck down by a knee injury just a matter of weeks into his time in Scotland, while the diminutive ace was dealt a further setback after missing the start of the current campaign with another injury issue, having notably been excluded from Postecoglou’s 25-man Champions League squad.
The 5 foot 7 gem is yet to feature so far this term as a result, with pundit Alex McLeish having suggested that the midfielder will need a “minor miracle” if he is to reverse his current fortunes at Celtic Park.
The only way for Ideguchi to improve his situation, however, is to be handed a chance to impress sooner rather than later, with tonight’s clash potentially offering the perfect chance for the former Gamba Osaka man to showcase his talent, having made a return to the matchday squad against Hibernian last weekend.
It is easy to forget that the one-time Leeds United ace had been lauded upon his arrival at Paradise, with former boss Damir Buric – who coached the 15-cap gem at German outfit Greuther Furth – stating:
“In regards to Yosuke, I can only speak the best. He is an outstanding person with great character. First of all I was very impressed with the way he came back from that serious injury. What impressed me most was the way he was working during his time out with the injury.
“It was just unbelievable, almost like a soldier. He showed such a great attitude and positive approach. He was extremely disciplined, took in every additional training session of physical rehabilitation and invested all of his time in getting back as soon as he possibly could.”
His time at Elland Road also saw the Fukuoka-born star dubbed a “valuable professional” by Marcelo Bielsa – despite ultimately failing to feature for the Yorkshire side – with there no doubt a talent in there just waiting to be unleashed.
With just under four years still to run on his existing deal with the Bhoys, Ideguchi still has ample time left to prove his worth to both Postecoglou and supporters, with the player potentially set to be like a cliched ‘new signing’ if he can hit a run of form in the coming weeks and months.
Having become something of a forgotten figure with the Scottish Premiership side, the versatile ace – who can feature all across the midfield – is in need of an opportunity to showcase what he can offer.