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Celtic: Postecoglou must ditch Daizen Maeda for Livingston clash

League leaders Celtic are back in action against Livingston at Parkhead on Wednesday night, with Ange Postecoglou’s side hoping to maintain their rampant and relentless start to the Premiership campaign.

The Old Firm giants have won 15 of their 16 games in the top flight so far this term, with the only blot on their copybook the defeat away to St Mirren in September, subsequently ending a 38-match unbeaten run in the league.

In truth, the Glasgow giants have looked almost imperious domestically since the 57-year-old’s arrival at the helm in 2021, with even the recent World Cup break having shown little sign of curtailing their momentum, as the champions clinched a 1-0 victory away to Aberdeen last weekend.

Despite the narrow winning margin – with the returning Callum McGregor having netted late on to seal all three points – it had been a “dominant” performance from the Hoops at Pittodrie, in the words of Postecoglou, as the visitors enjoyed 80% possession on the day.

The only thing missing prior to McGregor’s 87th-minute strike was that clinical edge in front of goal, with the forward line having come up short despite recording 33 attempts on goal, as per Sofascore.

One notable villain in that triumph had been Japan international Daizen Maeda, with the 25-year-old having been hooked at half-time following his recent return from featuring for his country at the World Cup in Qatar.

The diminutive speedster produced a typically hard-working display from the right flank, having won seven of his eight duels. However, he was once again unable to offer that killer touch in attack, having shown ‘plenty of endeavour but little end product‘, in the words of The Scotsman’s Mark Atkinson.

Such a performance has been synonymous with the 12-cap menace of late, with the £18k-per-week striker having even been dubbed a “headless chicken” by journalist Casey Evans due to his shortcomings in the final third.

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That has been evidenced by the fact that the former Yokohama F Marinos marksman has scored only three goals in his 15 league appearances so far this season, with that indicating his struggles of late.

As such, it should well be the case that Maeda is dropped to the bench against David Martindale’s men tomorrow night, particularly with Liel Abada having been “excellent” – according to journalist John McGinley – after entering the field in his place against Aberdeen on Saturday.