WHEN a player is having a difficult day at the office, it can be lamented from the stands that he is ‘worse than a man doon’. Given his often erratic contributions in the final third, it is a barb that has probably been aimed at Celtic attacker Daizen Maeda on occasion.

It might even have been the case early on in the win over Livingston on Saturday, as the Japanese squandered possession too easily at times, and chances to score at others. But by the end of a match which Celtic played the majority of a man light following Joe Hart’s first half dismissal, he was being hailed by his manager for making it appear as if his team had the full quota.

Brendan Rodgers has to share some of the credit for the outcome too. He pushed Maeda up alongside Kyogo Furuhashi – his preferred position - following Hart’s red card and he was a revelation.

READ MORE: David Martindale says Celtic outworked 'schoolboy' Livingston

As well as his ceaseless, perpetual motion that allowed him to harry Livingston defenders and always be available as an out ball for teammates, he eventually showed that he also possesses real quality in front of goal with an outrageous clincher for Celtic in stoppage time to round off a hugely satisfying 3-0 victory.

Yes, he should have tucked the ball away from about a yard following Kyogo’s setup before Matt O’Riley finally slammed in the second of the day for the champions, but this was a day where the positives of what he brings to Rodgers’ side far outweighed the negatives.

It was tiring just watching him buzz around the Tony Macaroni, but he appeared moments after the final whistle to speak to the assembled press with his kit still on, and seemingly without a bead of sweat on his jersey.

In fact, when it was put to him that he might be feeling a little fatigued after a week that had contained an away Champions League tie where Celtic finished with nine men and this test with 10, he seemed puzzled by the line of questioning.

“Was I feeling tired?” Maeda said. “No. Nothing. Not at all. Even if we had extra time I could still run. It’s no problem!

“I let the fans down in the Champions League game as we couldn’t get the result. We had to put it behind us and concentrate on the league game. I was very happy to give the supporters a good result and performance.

“We have a week to prepare for our next match so hopefully we can continue in the same form next time.

“Whatever has gone on before, we cannot look back. There is a time to talk about it but then we move on.

“There are a lot of positives to take from the win and we will be looking to doing our best next time out.”

That being said, even with bionic man Maeda, Celtic cannot make a habit of taking on teams without 11 players on the field, something he himself recognises.

“It was great to get the result against Livingston,” he said.

“But that was the second game in a row we had to play with less players and that is something we are going to have to think about.

“We are going to have to think about how we manage situations – because if that was a Champions League game it would have been even more difficult.

“I’m happy with the victory but we have a lot to think about as a team. We don’t want to have these situations again.

“Injuries happen in football. We cannot do anything about it and the important thing is how you deal with them. When it comes to yellow and red cards – that is something we can manage.

“We need to play intelligently. We are doing well right now, but we have to be careful not to get players sent off as it makes things difficult.”

Missing chances can have a similar effect, but full credit must go to Maeda for not allowing his head to drop on Saturday, and for continuing to buy a ticket to eventually win the raffle.

“I was thinking, ‘at some point it is going to come’,” he said.

“I was very happy to finally score at the end.

“When I was playing as a winger I was managing to get into some good positions. When I went up front, I knew that I have to get the goals for the team, so I managed to get into some nice positions and eventually I managed to score.”

READ MORE: Celtic 'showed what they are all about' in Livingston win

So too did Reo Hatate, who looked a little bit more like his old self and opened the scoring from the spot following a daft trip on him by Livi defender Luiyi De Lucas.

All in all, it was a satisfying day at the office for manager Rodgers, who even had time to ingratiate himself with the supporters who filled three quarters of the ground by hauling a heavy-handed steward off a young fan who had run onto the field.

While Maeda lamented the departure of Ange Postecoglou as much as any supporter given his long-standing relationship with the Australian, it seems his bond with Rodgers is gradually getting stronger.

“We saw him on the pitch at the end with the young supporter!” Maeda said.

“You can see he has a lot of passion for this club. It was a big victory, and you could see what it meant to him.

“The manager has started me in recent games, even though I didn’t score. I am grateful to him and that shows that he trusts me.

“Even before the game on Saturday, he told me I was going to score. I was very happy to repay his faith in me.”

As for Livi, they now have the small matter of a visit to Ibrox on Wednesday evening to take on Rangers for a place in the semi-finals of the League Cup, and striker Joel Nouble says they have to get back to the formula that has made them such a thorn in the sides of the bigger teams if they are to have a chance of pulling off a shock.

"Rangers’ centre-backs are probably going to be different [to Celtic's] as they’ve got (Connor) Goldson and (Ben) Davies," Nouble said.

"They are probably more physical than the two on Saturday. But 100 per cent we’ve got to do what we are good at. 

"The way the game went [on Saturday] with the red card, that made us more possession based. We’ve got to mix it up a lot and be a lot better going forward.

"We’ve got a chance to get to Hampden. It’s going to be another tough game against Rangers away but these are the kind of games you want to play in."