Celtic made a winning return to Scottish Premiership action on Saturday afternoon following the recent international break, securing a narrow 2-1 victory over Motherwell in what was an eventful encounter at Parkhead on Saturday.
The Hoops had succumbed to a first defeat in 38 top-flight games away at St Mirren two weeks ago, although were able to maintain their two-point advantage over Glasgow rivals Rangers at the top of the table following the win over the Fir Park outfit.
Goals from Japanese duo Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate helped to steer Ange Postecoglou’s side to all three points, with the hosts surviving a late scare following captain Callum McGregor’s dismissal to make it seven wins from eight in what appears to be a relentless defence of their title for the Old Firm giants.
A key performer in yesterday’s clash was that of the aforementioned Hatate, with the 24-year-old once again proving his worth to the Hoops boss after netting a stunning second-half strike to seal the win, after Josip Juranovic’s calamitous own goal had drawn the visitors level midway through the first period.
The one-cap gem – who arrived in Scotland for a bargain fee of just £1.4m last summer – picked up the ball just outside the box before unleashing a fierce effort past a helpless Liam Kelly, with that the midfielder’s tenth goal contribution in just 29 games for the club to date.
The diminutive ace had warned the away side prior to that fabulous effort having seen another fierce strike canon off the woodwork from distance, with the £2.25m-rated playmaker developing something of a knack for a long-range stunner, having produced similar heroics in the win over the Gers back in February.
The 5 foot 8 machine recorded a stunning 7.6 match rating as a result of his performance, as per SofaScore, with that by far the highest of any player for either side, despite squandering possession on 19 occasions.
As that latter metric showcases, there is still perhaps improvement to be made in the player’s game – with Postecoglou suggesting that there is still a “lot more to come” from his star asset – albeit with this recent triumph showcasing yet again just what a key figure he has become at Celtic Park in such a short space of time.