The Substitutes That Changed The Game for Celtic

Celtic put on a late show at Fir Park to see their way past Motherwell at Fir Park yesterday, and it was the substitutes that shone the brightest against the Steelmen.

Inconsistency has been one of Celtic’s main stumbling blocks, with games often being referred to as “Jekyll and Hyde” performances on the A Celtic State of Mind bulletin, and Celtic’s form remaining hit and miss since the return of Brendan Rodgers.

Yesterday was no different, with a lacklustre first-half showing leaving many fans fearing the worst, and those fears were only further alleviated when Blair Spittal curled in a spectacular opening goal beyond Joe Hart right on the stroke of half-time.

Brendan Rodgers had to make some changes to get things right, and it was like a completely different team had walked back out of the Fir Park tunnel for the second-half, with the team possessing a hunger and a desire that was sorely missing from the first-half.

The substitutes really helped the team’s case, with Adam Idah in particular playing the starring role and earning the headlines with his brace from the bench that ensured Celtic walked out of North Lanarkshire with all 3 points.

The substitutes helped bring the intensity needed to claw Celtic back into the game, with these 3 players in particular having the biggest impact on the game.

Adam Idah
The man who saved Celtic’s bacon once again. Adam Idah had saved the team before at Easter Road as he provided two penalties to secure the three points, but he showed a lot more quality in North Lanarkshire than he did in Leith.

He used his body well and showed the physicality required to be that nuisance for the Motherwell backline that Kyogo Furuhashi just can’t be, and he took both of his goals tremendously.

His header was perfectly-planted past Liam Kelly and his second of the afternoon was a well-placed finish with just the right amount of power behind it.

Social media comparisons to Giorgos Giakoumakis may be premature, but Idah is showing that he has the tools to be an incredibly key player for Celtic in the title race going forward.

Yang Hyun-jun
Yang Hyun-jun has been inconsistent since signing for Celtic. A very raw player, you never know what you are going to get from the South Korean winger, but we saw the best qualities of his game in his half-hour on the field against Motherwell.

He was going past the Motherwell full-backs and hitting the byline every time he went forward, a willingness to get forward that Celtic were sorely missing with Nicolas Kuhn on the park.

An underrated part of his game is his defensive work-rate. It isn’t Daizen Maeda levels of energy, but he provided a lot of help for Alistair Johnston and the Canadian looked far more comfortable with Yang ahead of him on the field.

Luis Palma
The Honduran only got 10 minutes on the field, but that was all it took to get back on the scoresheet at the same ground where he grabbed his first goal for Celtic back in September.

He appeared in the right place at the right time to get on the end of a Yang Hyun-jun cross, and his finishing ability is levels ahead of Daizen Maeda who passed up multiple guilt-edged opportunities to get the Hoops ahead.

James McKenzie // @JamesWHMcKenzie

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