Celtic's Daizen Maeda counting down the days for J-League reunion

Daizen Maeda is counting down the days until Celtic’s Japanese contingent can be reunited on the pitch at Parkhead.

Injury has denied Kyogo Furuhashi joining Yoseuke Ideguchi, Reo Hatate and his fellow forward in Ange Postecoglou’s side – but Maeda is hoping it won’t be long before the former J-League players can all appear together.

There’s familiarity for Maeda in his colleagues – and in his manager – having played under Postecoglou in Japan. And while enjoying his football in Glasgow so far, having all three of his countrymen join him on the field would top off a bright start to his cinch Premiership career.

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"I was looking to play in the same system and style I'd played in before and there is no difference how we played in Japan and playing here. I like attacking football, which we had at Marinos, and I am enjoying it right now in this style here. We have a good relationship together [with the manager] and we work very well together.

Daizen Maeda is looking forward to a J-League reunion when Kyogo Furuhashi returns from injury (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

"I feel good to have three other Japanese players and I would like to play with the four of us together very soon. They are great people.”

Furuhashi has been an international colleague, but his hamstring injury also ruled him out of the most recent trip away with Maeda at the start of this month.

Maeda only played briefly against Saudi Arabia, but rushed back to be part of the 3-0 Old Firm win inspired by Hatate, and now he is hoping for more success in the Scottish Cup with Raith Rovers visiting Celtic Park on Sunday for a place in the last 16.

Maeda explained: “I was talking with the manager and saying that I wanted to play in [the Old Firm match on February 3]. The club was very helpful so that I could come back before the match and play. The experience itself was amazing, to play in such a great atmosphere in the stadium.

Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi all followed Ange Postecoglou and Kyogo Furuhashi's path to Scotland in January. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

"No matter if it's a league game or a Cup game we are always looking for the victory. Not only the players but the team staff want to win every game we have. We just play hard to have a victory.”

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