Postecoglou hails Abada’s impact in Celtic’s comeback at St Mirren

Abada replaced Daizen Maeda with Celtic trailing to Mark O’Hara’s early penalty.

Ange Postecoglou hailed the contribution of Liel Abada after the half-time substitute had a major impact in Celtic’s emphatic comeback against 10-man St Mirren.

Abada replaced Daizen Maeda with Celtic trailing to Mark O’Hara’s early penalty and soon had a hand in Jota’s equaliser.

Alistair Johnston’s first goal for Celtic put the cinch Premiership leaders ahead before Abada fired their third goal and then set up Matt O’Riley to net ahead of Hyeongyu Oh’s late penalty, which completed a 5-1 victory.

The Israel international has started 16 of Celtic’s 39 games this season but the only one he did not feature in was a Champions League tie against RB Leipzig which coincided with Jewish holy day Yom Kippur.

The 21-year-old has now delivered 12 goals and seven assists and Celtic manager Postecoglou stressed his importance whether he starts or not.

“He was really good,” Postecoglou said. “It’s important — and it’s a weekly thing — that the guys who come on make an impact.

“The fact they’re not starting doesn’t affect their mindset. I just thought the way the game was going it was a good game for him to come on into. I knew he would get a bit of space out wide to run at them.

“He’s a handful when he does that and he’s always a goal threat. It doesn’t matter what opposition he is up against.

“He’s played a lot of football over the last 18 months for us and he’s scored a lot of goals and supplied a lot of assists. He’s still got a way to improve, I’m sure, but again he’s another within the group who just wants to be better. Consistently, when he is asked to contribute, he makes a contribution.”

Postecoglou added: “I know he’s not had a lot of starts but he’s still played a lot of football. He and Matty (O’Riley) are probably the only two who have played every game for us this year.

“People focus on who starts and they think players aren’t getting game time. But from our perspective he’s a really strong contributor last year and this year and he will continue to be.

“He’s a really ambitious guy who wants to be at a big football club. He wants to win things and be the best he can be. That’s exactly where he is at.

“All our players, particularly the younger ones who want to go on to further opportunities, maybe to a stronger league, do you think they are going to go to a club where they are guaranteed game time?

‘No, so it’s no different here. We are a big club. Nothing is guaranteed. You’ve got to earn everything and these boys do that.”

Postecoglou praised Kyogo Furuhashi for the pressing which led to Charles Dunne’s pivotal 38th-minute red card for pulling down the striker after playing a short backpass.

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson said: “You think you’re in total control of it but we’ve made a poor decision when we were in total control of the ball.

“Charles is a human being, he makes mistakes like everyone, but ultimately I pick the players so it’s my fault. Nobody gets hung out to dry at this football club.

“The overriding factor is that if you play with 11 men against Celtic it’s a tough task, if you play with 10 it becomes very, very hard.

“Ultimately they break you down, they make you tired, they make you make tired decisions defensively and I think three or four of their goals were tired decisions defensively when they move the ball about.”

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