Ange Postecoglou feels Hibs goal was big moment in Oh Hyeon-gyu's Celtic career
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou believes Oh Hyeon-gyu experienced a major moment in his Parkhead career by heading home late on to get the cinch Premiership leaders in front against Hibernian.
The 21-year-old had earlier missed two decent chances after entering the fray on the hour mark to join Kyogo Furuhashi up front.
But the South Korean showed no apprehension as he brushed Josh Campbell off to power home David Turnbull’s corner in the 81st minute.
“Like all strikers, they love scoring goals, particularly goals of that nature,” the Celtic boss said.
“But he is going to be a fantastic player for us, mate. I have introduced him really slowly, he is adjusting to life on and off the field, but I watch him in training every day and he is a handful.
“He has got a real presence about him physically but also he’s got a great touch and he is just so hungry for success.
“It will do him the world of good because he is going away with the national team so it’s always good for him to get that confidence.
“The way the game was going, playing him and Kyogo up front would help us, because every time the ball arrived in the box he is going to be a presence in there. That’s what he proved.”
Oh was not the only substitute to make his mark in the 3-1 win. Postecoglou was forced into an early change when Reo Hatate went off with a hamstring problem. With Aaron Mooy absent through a minor injury and Matt O’Riley starting, Turnbull was presented with the chance to play his most Premiership minutes since November.
The former Motherwell midfielder grew into the game, showing accuracy on the ball in the first half and becoming increasingly active after the break, helping to keep the ball moving quickly to maintain the pressure on Hibs before delivering an inviting cross for Oh to finish.
Another substitute, Sead Haksabanovic, curled home from 18 yards in stoppage time, just as he had against Hearts 10 days earlier.
Postecoglou said: “You don’t just train to start a game, you train all week to be ready when the opportunity comes, and sometimes you don’t know when that opportunity will come.
“Reo has gone off early and Turnbull has to be ready. If you just train to start a game of football you will miss opportunities.
“It has been a big part of our game to make sure the guys who come on make an impact.
“They all embrace that and have a good attitude. And just because you are not starting does not mean you won’t have an impact. That is credit to the whole group, that’s the mentality they have.”
Hibs manager Lee Johnson hailed his side’s performance under challenging circumstances and offered a solution to what he felt was the reason behind their difficulties.
They lost Elie Youan to two soft yellow cards inside 24 minutes, the second incredibly harsh as the striker was penalised for catching Cameron Carter-Vickers on the head when the Celtic defender came through the back of him and stooped to head.
Referee Steven McLean awarded two penalties which Hibs midfielder Josh Campbell and Jota converted before another spot-kick decision was rescinded by VAR.
Johnson said: “I’m a bit of a lobbyist to give refs more money because I think the league should be employing professional referees. It’s a big European league. It’s important, there’s a lot of money at stake, European places at stake – there could be five clubs in Europe next season.
“You’ve got to have the standard to match and that means full-time referees and working day in, day out with each other, doing your analysis on teams and players, it’s working better as a team, it’s communicating better in the technical areas or on the microphones to each other.”