Celtic and their cadre of Meiji Yasuda J.League alumni have had a smashing time on their preseason tour of Japan, bringing some of the nation’s brightest stars back to their home country to play in green and white.
The tour began was an exhilarating friendly against Yokohama F·Marinos in a clash between the reigning Japanese and Scottish champions that saw the Tricolor prevail, 6-4. Now, they head south to put a cap on their tour at Panasonic Stadium Suita against Gamba Osaka.
Celtic’s meeting with Marinos was an absolute classic, with Daizen Maeda stealing the show in his return to Yokohama. The 2021 J1 Top Scorer notched a hat trick for Celtic in a high-flying showcase, but it was the Tricolor who came out on top.
Now the Scottish giants are bringing that same attacking verve to Osaka, where they will transition from playing against Japan’s best team to arguably the hottest team in the country.
The Nerazzurri have won six and drawn one in their last seven. They’ve turned into a verifiable machine, urged on by a rabid fan base that will be in full voice for Saturday’s celebratory friendly.
With Maeda, Kyogo Furuhashi, Tomoki Iwata, Reo Hatate and Yuki Kobayashi, Celtic bring the star power that will have Osaka football fans delighted, while Dawhan leads a Gamba team that has the tantalizing young Riku Handa and the 22-year-old Kosei Tani, who could be Japan’s starting goalkeeper one day.
Celtic’s tour has been a fabulous showcase for the sport and their meeting with Gamba will be the perfect capper. Established stars, up-and-coming youngsters, Scotland’s best and Japan’s hottest, all in front of some of the best support the country has to offer.