He's given David Turnbull a fair crack. He's tried to let Odin Thiago Holm flourish and blossom. He's even turned to Paulo Bernardo in the Champions League. None of that triumvirate have cemented a regular first team starting berth. Now Brendan Rodgers' hand has been forced. Come on down Tomoki Iwata.

For the foreseeable future, the Japanese midfielder deserves an opportunity to start matches for Celtic. Let's begin on Wednesday night against Hibs, shall we?

The former J1-League MVP has bided his time long enough. Rodgers knows it. The Northern Irishman was gushing in his praise when Iwata opened his Celtic account in the 4-1 demolition of Hearts back in October.

The manager said: "I am pleased for Tomoki. He works so hard. Some of these guys are very important for us. They may not start as many games as they would like but their contribution is really important. He came on and got his first goal for the club which is terrific."

READ MORE: Celtic's Brendan Rodgers praises goalscorer Tomoki Iwata

Iwata most certainly has not started as many games as he would like. That will all change after another decent showing again at McDiarmid Park. Rodgers revealed he was the angriest he has ever been in his managerial career during a half-time rant in Perth. Rest assured none of his ire would have been aimed at Iwata.

The 26-year-old's contribution definitely merited a mention. It deserved more than one sentence to be fair: "Tomoki Iwata set up the third goal for us, so all the subs made an impact." It was Iwata who chased the ball down deep in injury time after Joe Hart had made a fantastic diving save to preserve the champions' 2-1 lead. He could have gone on his own and scored a wonder solo goal but he opted to find James Forrest in space who duly finished off the game.

And it's that lay-off into the path of Forrest that will have pleased Rodgers the most. It seemed like the easiest of passes but Iwata executed it with aplomb. Behold a team player at work. A clever footballer who just gets the job done.

His technical prowess on the ball is there for all to see. He can manipulate, control and distribute a football at will. There is more than a semblance of balance whenever Iwata takes to the field and captain fantastic Callum McGregor is deployed in a more advanced role. In Iwata, Celtic possess the best natural defensive midfielder in the Scottish Premiership. Every time he takes to the pitch he has an unerring ability to not only find space but his movement is intelligent and distribution can be Matt O'Riley-esque at times.

Celtic Way:

What's not to like about this guy?

The Celtic faithful are now screaming for him to get his chance. And Rodgers, if yesterday's press conference comments are anything to go by has accepted that it might now be time to unleash Iwata and give him an extended run. The only question remains -why has he been made to sit on the bench for so long?

Celtic badly need a modern midfield enforcer and the answer may well have been sitting under Rodgers' nose all along. Iwata has shown that he is tenacious in the tackle, strong and brings a bundle of raw energy and athleticism to proceedings as well. He's also the type of player who protects his defence and would free up the likes of McGregor and O'Riley to terrorise the opposition...just like they did in Perth on Sunday. These are all ticks in any midfielder's check boxes - are they not?

READ MORE: Why Tomoki Iwata is now ready to play for Celtic

Judging by the way he sprinted forward in Perth, Iwata is no slouch or lacking in the pace department either. He was totally laser-focused in that moment and he released the ball with perfect timing for Forrest to wrap up proceedings. Can you imagine Iwata playing in a holding role and McGregor and O'Riley having the freedom to pick out passes and shoot at will from the edge of the box?

In truth, Iwata has barely put a foot wrong in a Celtic jersey whenever he has been granted an opportunity. There has never been a more better chance for the gritty midfielder to become the third wheel in the Celtic engine room. McGregor has been converted into a defensive midfielder, remember? So it's nonsense to suggest that McGregor and Iwata are similar type players and could not perform or function in the same midfield. They could interchange for a start just as wingers are prone to swapping flanks. McGregor and Iwata could conceivably switch roles during matches depending on situations.

That would be something, wouldn't it? For the record, Iwata has played 118 minutes of football for Celtic in all competitions this season. That's less than a game and a half and he has already racked up one goal and one assist. He looks much better than simply being deployed as an impact substitute.

Turnbull, Holm and Bernardo have all had their first team chance this season. That's why it's time for Rodgers change the midfield guard. The Celtic supporters await the 'Iwata Impact' for real

Rodgers may not be Hughie Green...(and white) or Bob Monkhouse for that matter but the 50-year-old manager recognises football talent and pedigree when he sees it. That's why it's a case of 'Opportunity Knocks' for Iwata against Hibs on Wednesday. It will finally be his turn to shine on the centre stage. And not before time.