Patience is a virtue, and it is something that Celtic striker Oh Hyeon-gyu has had to have since his January arrival from Suwon Samsung Bluewings in his native South Korea.

Effectively feeding off the scraps left by the club's main striker Kyogo Furuhashi, Oh has had limited opportunities from the start to stamp his authority on the team’s attacking prowess, though he has found joy when coming off the bench under both Ange Postecoglou and Brendan Rodgers in his 11 months at the club so far.

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Thanks to both impressive cameo appearances coming on as a substitute in games and a drop in form from Kyogo, the South Korea international was handed an opportunity to impose himself from the off against Hibernian, as Rodgers elected to start the 22-year-old ahead of Kyogo for only the second time this season – his only previous start occurring in the 3-0 win over Ross County up in Dingwall. That game – despite much endeavour, drive and effort – ended goalless for the imposing forward, who did everything but score in proceedings up north.

With rumours swirling over a potential move for Aberdeen’s star man Bojan Miovski next month, Oh had a point to prove against Hibs that night and prove it he did. Using both StatsBomb and Wyscout, we analyse Oh's performance against Nick Montgomery's Hibs side, in which he contributed to half of Celtic's goals on the night...

Oh's StatsBomb radars

Before we discuss his individual exploits against Hibs, it is important to underline Oh’s statistical numbers that have led him to earn this start on the night.

Above is a StatsBomb player radar showing Oh’s league metrical numbers from the first game of the season against Ross County to Sunday’s game against St Johnstone. In particular, look at the first three metric scores, all of which are in the 99th percentile. He averages 0.69 in xG and 4.51 shots per game, as well as 10.74 touches in the box. It is little surprise that Rodgers elected to give him this opportunity to start at home, as the numbers he is producing are consistently high in these areas.

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What may have stopped him from doing so more is the rate of turnovers, as 4.94 per 90 is quite a high total, ranking him in the 10th percentile, and not in a good way. He wins 3.65 aerial duels (76th percentile), though you would expect this to be a tad higher due to his physique and willingness to get involved. This willingness is shown in his pressure average, with 17.18 per game (68th percentile). Despite these mixed numbers, no one can deny that Oh was deserving of a starting opportunity for the game against Hibs.

This next radar makes for pleasant viewing and reading if you are Rodgers, as your decision to start the South Korean has been vindicated by the striker’s performance on the night. Cast your eye over the percentile totals, as they suggest that this was truly Oh’s breakout game as a Celtic player.

Indeed, three of his percentiles were at the highest level possible, highlighting how effective he was at leading the line for the club on Wednesday night. Scoring twice with an xG of 1.71 indicates that he outperformed in front of goal, given the chances that were presented to him by his fellow players. Furthermore, he managed an average of 6.97 and 18.12 shots and touches in the box respectively, though perhaps the most pleasing statistic comes further down on the table concerning pressures, of which he managed 27.87 on average, over 10 more than his total accumulated beforehand.

How Celtic (and Oh) lined up

Against Hibs on Wednesday, Oh was positioned as the lone striker, with Luis Palma and Mikey Johnston tasked with providing him service on the left and right wing respectively. He was without his fellow countryman Yang Hyun-jun, who was dropped from the side altogether following a dismal first half against St Johnstone in Perth, whilst Tomoki Iwata joined him from the start, who also has featured heavily off of the bench during this campaign.

Oh's opener

It did not take long for Rodgers’ vindication to arrive at his doorstep, as Oh was among the goals early doors for Celtic on the night, though there was debate as to who got the final touch at first!

The home side had been awarded an early corner thanks to some good work from Johnston on the right wing to force a deflection off of the Hibs defender. As is often the case from Palma, he floats an accurate pass into the middle of the box, which is connected with by Cameron Carter-Vickers. An unusual attacker, the defender side-footed the ball goalward in the direction of David Marshall’s net. However – as all good strikers do – Oh was in the right place to poach the goal off of the American.

Observe the striker’s position, as he was holding off a Hibs defender from defending in his own box. A striker’s bread and butter is being in the right place at the right time, and Oh had got his bearings spot-on in this case. Yes, the ball effectively hits off of the forward and past Marshall, but he was rewarded for his positioning and alertness with an early goal in proceedings. A big chance to begin with in terms of xG, Oh’s PSxG rose to 0.83 following the connection he made with the ball. It does not matter how they go in, as long as they do so.

Oh at the double

A good start for the striker, but events would get even more rosy for him in the second half. Callum McGregor – playing as a number eight for the first time in years – had an opportunity to showcase his forward-thinking skills in this match, with his contribution proving pivotal in the lead-up to Oh’s second goal. The still above shows that Oh has anticipated where the captain is going to direct his pass, and the striker motors into position. He has lifted his head and tracked where he wants the ball. Thankfully for him, the captain duly obliged.

The pass is typically accurate from McGregor, splitting the defence and putting Oh into space. Will Fish was up against the striker, but he was skilfully dealt with by the South Korean, who gently nudged the Manchester United loanee ever so slightly with his hip. This perfectly legal show of strength had the desired effect, as it rendered Fish out of proceedings concerning defending this attack.

The only thing left for Oh to do was beat the Hibs goalkeeper Marshall. This chance was reminiscent of the last time the striker scored at Celtic Park against Aberdeen, with Oh one-on-one against the opposition keeper at close range proximity. He steadied himself and accurately placed it under Marshall, with the goalkeeper’s touch not enough to stop the chance from finding its intended target. Rising from 0.15 to 0.30 in xG, he had doubled his goal tally for the evening with another fine piece of striking play.

Oh's other big chance

In the middle of these two chances, however, Oh had a great chance to add to his record further, though his composure let him down on this occasion. Alistair Johnston – one of Celtic’s standouts on the night at right-back - was positioned as effectively another winger during this move, and was looking for his fellow winter window arrival in the box. Oh again has recognised that this potential chance is going to transpire, and is on the move to meet this opportunity.

Johnston played a lovely weighted ball into the striker’s direction, and what happened next is an example of his occasional rashness in front of goal. Oh tried to slide in but failed to connect with the ball with any real venom, allowing Marshall to easily collect. This chance rose from 0.31 to 0.88, signifying how big an opportunity this was for Oh, but one that he failed to capitalise on.

Thankfully, this chance did not affect the outcome of the game - and he did score again in the second half - but these chances have got to be capitalised on if he is to realistically challenge Kyogo for the Celtic starting berth up front.


As mentioned at the start of this article, Oh has had to bide his time whilst Kyogo has been leading the line almost exclusively for Celtic since the South Korean’s arrival. Postecoglou made a big song and dance when he secured the services of the striker just under 11 months ago, though some sectors were disappointed that the K1-League’s top scorer Cho Gue-sung was not signed as a result. With that ship now long gone thanks to his move to FC Midtjylland, Oh has had to win both the supporters and a new manager over another time following the latter’s return to the club.

No two ways about it, Wednesday’s showing against Hibs feels like the breakout game that all interested parties have been waiting for from the forward. Two very different goals converted, admittedly, but these conversions show that he is capable of all kinds of conversions.

With all eyes now focussed on Celtic’s trip to Rugby Park at the weekend to face Derek McInnes’ Kilmarnock, there seems to be an almost universal viewpoint that Oh must continue to lead the line in place of Kyogo. That very statement would have been almost blasphemous just a few months ago, but it is a testament to Oh’s character and work rate that he is now held in this regard.

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Still only 22, Oh has plenty of development left to do at his first non-South Korean club in his career. Under the guidance of a manager like Brendan Rodgers, who has had similar success with taller strikers in the past such as Moussa Dembele and Odsonne Edouard, he can reach the lofty heights that his potential promises. If he can produce more of the same – starting in Ayrshire this weekend – then Kyogo may have a worthy competition after all in the striking position.

Regardless of that, Celtic’s win against Hibs in Glasgow was very much the ‘Oh show’. Fingers crossed he can add a couple more tour dates to his growing showreel in a Celtic shirt whilst leading the line for the champions.