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The main attraction of Celtic’s match against Athletic Club was getting to see the well-deserved reception given to James Forrest upon his emotional testimonial.

However, it was also a good opportunity to spectate just how well the new players fared under the floodlights at Celtic Park. The friendly saw the home debuts of Maik Nawrocki, Odin Thiago Holm, Kwon Hyeok-kyu and Yang Hyun-jun in the 3-2 win against the La Liga stalwarts.

The debutants all had 45 minutes to showcase their skills and ability in front of near-full support at Parkhead, so there is a decent sample size to analyse how exactly each player got on. First impressions are key for any new player joining a new team, and the same certainly applies at Celtic.

Maik Nawrocki

The Polish defender’s home debut was also his first appearance for the club since his arrival from Legia Warsaw. A slight knock prevented him from playing in the previous match against Wolves, but he recovered in time to make his debut in this game instead.

As far as first impressions go, Nawrocki made a solid one, despite the defence he was part of conceding two goals in the opening 45 minutes. Not afraid to get on the ball and make passes out from the back, he displayed all of his strengths against solid opposition. He also looks like a strong tackler who imposes himself well on the pitch, which was positive to see.

Playing alongside Celtic’s main central defensive standout Cameron Carter-Vickers, the pair looked comfortable passing to each other and, in turn, starting plays from their deep position on the field. Both goals conceded by the defence were nothing to do with him and he looks like he can do the defensive fundamentals very well. At only 22 years old, he will be a player the club hopes to continue developing whilst contributing on the pitch.

Overall, Nawrocki looked strong, with plenty more to come over the coming weeks and months.

READ MORE: Alan Morrison's Celtic 2023/24 season predictions

Kwon Hyeok-kyu

From a solid debut against Wolves in Dublin to a home bow to forget against Athletic Club, the South Korean midfielder has had a mixed start to life at Celtic during his two performances so far. After an assured second-half appearance from the player signed from Busan IPark, there were hopes that he could potentially be someone that could pose a threat to existing midfielders with regard to a first-team place.

If that is to be the case, then the midfielder will have to put in better performances than the one he displayed on Tuesday night. Caught in possession a number of times, he cut a slow and laboured figure in Celtic’s midfield, which was admittedly not helped by the poor performance of Hatate alongside him.

Following the match, Brendan Rodgers admitted that “some (players) coped better than others” with regard to the debutants. Reading between the lines – as well as the fact that every other player bar Kwon was singled out – one can assume that this comment was negatively attributed to his performance in isolation.

The step up from playing in South Korea’s second division to the Scottish Premiership will be a big adjustment for Kwon, as well as plying his trade in the Champions League this season. Patience may be required.

Odin Thiago Holm

Onto a far more promising display from a midfielder, Holm was arguably the standout in what was a sublime second-half performance from Celtic’s rotated line-up.

Admittedly, there was a lot of hype surrounding the versatile Norwegian when he arrived at the club. In the previous pre-season games, Holm was competent but unspectacular as he tried to start working his way into the plans of the new manager. After this 45-minute cameo against Athletic, however, he will be pleased with his efforts in the middle of the park. Playing as the deepest midfielder in the second half, Holm allowed Matt O’Riley and David Turnbull to venture forward while he held the fort just in front of the central defenders. Mobile in getting around the park and strong in the tackle, the young player stood out like a sore thumb – in a good way – with his range of passing and footballing IQ in congested areas of the park.

Early days, but Holm looks like another scouting success story for Mark Lawwell and his busy recruitment team. It will be up to the player to convince Rodgers that he is better than what is currently operating in the Celtic midfield areas.

READ MORE: Rodgers highlights three Celtic standouts from Athletic Club victory

Yang Hyun-jun

Another player who made his debut against Wolves recently, Yang was keen to display all the flair and attacking ability that convinced Celtic to sign him from Gangwon FC. Not afraid to take a man on, the 21-year-old winger looks like a real livewire playing out on the wide areas. Still raw in terms of his dribbling and end product, it is clear that Yang is still a work in progress for Rodgers and his staff to develop going forward.

He really should have opened his account for his new club too, but he snatched at a chance which fell to him late on in proceedings following a great cross from Alexandro Bernabei. Hopefully, he will be up to the task of trying to displace the established wingers at the club, such as Daizen Maeda and Liel Abada, but the early signs look good.