There was plenty for Brendan Rodgers to be pleased about following Celtic's latest victory. A strong 4-1 win over Hibernian at Parkhead was a great result. Particularly pleasing for the Northern Irish manager would be the way some players took their rare opportunities to start for the Hoops and made the most of it.
Oh Hyeon-gyu is a clear example, as he was handed a start ahead of Kyogo Furuhashi. The South Korean international showed what he offered to the team by scoring two goals in the match. The performance should have boosted his chances of more game time in the weeks ahead.
Tomoki Iwata is another player Rodgers must have been pleased with after the win. His selection in the defensive midfield role allowed Callum McGregor to play further up the pitch, something fans had been calling for for a while.
Iwata had a good game as did McGregor. So this could be a combination that we see more of in future matches, especially with Reo Hatate out injured.
Rodgers may have solved key Celtic problem
The Celtic boss also cleared up why we haven’t seen much of Iwata this season. The midfielder popped up with a goal at Tynecastle Park a few weeks ago and an assist at the weekend against St Johnstone, but hasn’t played a lot of football overall.
As tweeted out by Sky Sports Scotland, Rodgers said about Iwata:
"Tomo is a player that I have wanted to play before but he’s had some injuries. I thought he came in and was good in the centre of midfield."
Hopefully, the injury problems are now behind Iwata. Rodgers has been playing David Turnbull, Odin Thiago Holm and Paulo Bernardo in various midfield roles.
None of the three might have done enough to nail down a place in the starting XI. Perhaps a fully fit Iwata is a better answer. Especially with the bonus of boosting the impact of McGregor in that more advanced midfield role.