Celtic‘s League Cup semi-final triumph over Kilmarnock saw in-form speedster Daizen Maeda once again get himself on the scoresheet, with the Japanese international continuing his rampant hot streak since returning from World Cup duty.
The 25-year-old had gone into Saturday’s meeting after having provided a goal contribution in each of his last three Scottish Premiership games, notably netting in fine fashion in the Old Firm derby draw away at Ibrox.
The diminutive gem’s latest goal was an illustration that everything is simply going his way at present, with the ball having almost comically deflected off the 12-cap menace following an attempted clearance by former Rangers man, Kyle Lafferty.
That somewhat fortunate strike has ensured that Maeda now has 15 goals and ten assists to his name in just 50 appearances for the Old Firm outfit, having proven a truly astute capture for manager Ange Postecoglou since his arrival on an initial loan deal a year ago.
That move to Glasgow had come as part of a triple swoop alongside Yosuke Ideguchi and Reo Hatate, with the Hoops boss having utilised his J-League connections in order to aid in the club’s push for the title.
Postecoglou could now look to repeat that Maeda masterclass by bringing in another forward from Japan in the winter window, with recent reports having claimed that Shimizu S Pulse striker Thiago Santana is a possible target for the Scottish champions.
A new centre-forward is seemingly on the agenda for the Bhoys amid the uncertainty surrounding Giorgos Giakoumakis, with the Parkhead outfit likely keen to ensure that their attacking options are not depleted for the second half of the campaign.
Although something of an unknown quantity to most in Glasgow, Santana – whose existing deal is set to expire in December – could well follow Maeda et al in becoming a leading presence for Postecoglou’s side, having been in clinical form of late.
The 29-year-old goal machine notably netted 14 goals and provided six assists in the league during the most recent campaign, with his overall tally for the club now standing at 30 goals and nine assists in 72 games across all fronts.
The fact that that record is even better than what Maeda had achieved during his time at former club Yokohama F.Marinos – 26 goals and five assists in 70 games – bodes well for the impact that Santana could make in Scottish football, while the Brazilian also offers the benefit of having flourished in European football previously, after netting 35 goals in 97 games for Portuguese side Santa Clara.
Should Postecoglou secure a move for the latter man this month, the experienced marksman could well go on help strengthen Celtic’s lead at the summit, with the signing of Maeda 12 months ago having illustrated the benefit of sealing a mid-season transfer.