KARAOKE is big in Japan.
But Greg Taylor reckons Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Guchi have probably breathed a sigh of relief that he doesn’t exist in the Celtic dressing room.
The three Asian players have just signed, but unlike years at the club, there was no awkward initiation ceremony to go through.
Taylor remembers having to sing in front of his new teammates after joining Kilmarnock.
But the days have changed now, as it was revealed that the new boys are doing slightly.
Taylor said: “These were songs that we had to sing before, but I think that sort of disappeared from the game.
“I don’t think a lot of boys like it, and especially boys from different countries. I can’t imagine that would be a very pleasant position to have, so it’s not something we do here these days.
“I think I did it, pretty well. I think I did one when I first signed, but I can’t remember what I sang.
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“When I first broke through at Kilmarnock I was supposed to sing too, but I couldn’t tell you the song. My memory is not the best.
“It was right in the middle of the dining room, standing in a chair, knife in hand, trying to sing.”
Taylor was impressed with the Japanese newcomers after their first week of training.
He added: “They settled in very well, in fact, they really did.
“They trained well last week so they hope to be involved in the coming weeks. They’re all great guys with a good work ethic.
“I would say they handled the situation very well.
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“When new boys arrive, I think you try to be as nice as possible to help them settle in.
“Of course, you have a bit of a language barrier with the Japanese at the moment, but already their English is improving day by day.
“For them, I’m sure it’s hard to listen to my Scottish accent at the best of times.
“I can’t say that I learned Japanese. I don’t know if it’s good or bad.
“But the guys’ English is improving so I’m putting pressure on them.
“No, you just try to be as nice as possible and when we’re on the training ground explain the standards we have to set every day.
The manager is pretty clear with that. It’s all pretty clear to anyone who comes in, the requirements you pretty much need to meet right away.
“But I think they did a good job. They are lucky not to have had to do initiations like in the past.
The extended winter break has also given Celtic’s new signings a chance to do more work on the training ground.
Taylor added: “It gives you a chance to get a good, clear training week and get more work done on the training ground.
“During the season, we don’t have much time. It’s game-fetch, game-fetch.
“Having this long period off has been an opportunity to welcome the new guys, to explain how we want to play our football and luckily that’s what we did this week. It was a good week of training. training last week.
“We always want to improve. The gaffer strongly believes that every game, every training session is an opportunity to do just that.
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“It will be our focus for the next few months, no doubt, to try to build on what we have done in the first few months and strive to improve.”
Taylor is just thrilled to be back playing after a shoulder injury earlier this season sidelined him. He added: “I missed a period of time when I was out in the first part of the season, and you hate missed games.
“I just hope to play and contribute as much as I can when the gaffer calls me.
“I’ve been happy with my performance since coming back to the team, to be fair. I think there’s an improvement in me that can still happen, definitely.
“I enjoyed the way the gaffer wants to play, but I just try to work hard every day in training, listen to the coaches, listen to the gaffer and take in as much information as possible. J hope this will be very useful to me.
“With my shoulder, knock on wood, I have no complaints.
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“I was out for ten long weeks but expected it to be longer initially so the surgeon was really pleased we managed to get back in that time so that was good.
“I also managed to play my part in the cup final, coming back for this game and playing was a real motivation, it was a great day.”
It’s Hibs again tonight in Celtic’s first game after the break, with 60,000 expected.
Taylor added: “We are all over the moon with this. It’s not the same to play with 500 fans or without fans like last year. It totally changes the whole game.
“To have the stadium full is fortunately the decision that was made and it was a real relief for us, and we are really delighted.”
Hibs are a different proposition now with new boss Shaun Maloney winning his first two games since replacing Jack Ross.
Taylor added: “Everybody really talks about him here, they say he was a top coach. The young guys had him in reserve and they really speak well of him.
“The Hibs have a strong group of players, so we know it won’t be easy no matter who is in charge.
“The cup final was an example of that, they didn’t have a permanent manager and it was still an extremely difficult game with the best players for them.
“So we know it’s going to be tough, but we have to be ready and I’m sure we will be.”
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