Tilio’s Celtic situation explained; Socceroo’s major role in historic promotion: KEEPUP Beyond The A-Leagues

From the Scottish Premiership and Japan’s J2 League, to Serie B, the Eredivisie and Eliteserien in Norway, KEEPUP has you covered on all the news about our Aussie men abroad.

Rodgers delivers update on Tilio’s situation at Celtic

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has explained the ongoing absence of Marco Tilio as he discussed the “really, really hard transition” for the A-Leagues graduate.

Tilio made the move to Scottish champions Celtic at the start of the season, with three-time reigning Isuzu UTE A-League premiers Melbourne City netting a reported fee of £1.5 million (A$2.8m) – a record for an outbound transfer made by an Australian club.

However, the Socceroos forward is yet to make his Celtic debut after an injury-interrupted start to life in Glasgow.

The 22-year-old did make an appearance in a testimonial match last month, part of a Celtic XI side that took on Ayr United.

“It’s just time. He will admit it himself, it’s been a really, really hard transition for him,” Rodgers said ahead of Celtic’s 4-1 rout of Hearts on Monday (AEDT).

“The intensity of the game is totally different to what he is used to, so it’s been a challenge for him in training.

“It’s always difficult, you are a new player coming into a club and you end up being injured virtually all of pre-season and into September.

“He has started to find his feet in the last three or four weeks. It’s going to take him more time but I am not in any big rush for Marco. He will bring himself to the team as quickly as he can produce in training and over his time here.

“He is adapting but it’s taking a wee bit longer for him just purely because the intensity of the game is totally different to where he has come from.”

Celtic showed no mercy against Hearts and their Australian contingent in a Scottish Premiership demolition.

Kye Rowles, Cammy Devlin and Calem Nieuwenhof all started for fourth-placed Hearts, who were no match for the league leaders in Edinburgh.

It was a similar story for the Australians and A-Leagues alumni at rivals Hibernian over the weekend.

Nick Montgomery‘s Hibs were swept aside 4-0 by Rangers in their first match under new boss Philippe Clement.

After making his Socceroos debut during the international break, Lewis Miller started at right-back – on the same flank as Australia teammate Martin Boyle – while Jimmy Jeggo and former Sydney FC star Adam Le Fondre were also in the line-up away to Rangers.

However, Socceroos pair Ryan Strain and Keanu Baccus did not play over the weekend after St Mirren’s fixture at Ross County was postponed due to Storm Babet, which resulted in major floods in the UK.

James McGarry and Aberdeen also had their match against Dundee postponed.

Socceroo’s ‘monumental’ performance

Alessandro Circati is continuing to take Italian football by storm following his latest Serie B display.

Circati made his Socceroos debut against the All Whites in London on Wednesday, and three days later he was back at it for Parma.

The former Perth Glory youngster produced another mammoth display in Parma’s 2-1 win over Como, with Italian website Parma Live labelling his performance “monumental”.

Circati was given a rating of eight – the highest of any Parma player in the match as Parma top Serie B in their pursuit of promotion to Italy’s top flight.

“Some feared he might be in difficulty after his commitments with the national team,” the report read. “He responded with another, yet another, monumental performance. 

“He wins all the duels, eliminating (Patrick) Cutrone one-on-one. The aerial balls are all his and infallible in melee. Booked at the end, in the only flaw in a perfect match. 

“He sends a clear message to (Parma head coach Fabio) Pecchia: he is becoming more and more essential.”

Circati – who has started seven matches this season and scored one goal – had been in the past two Socceroos camps, but the 20-year-old finally earned his big moment midweek.

A youth international for Italy and a star performer for Parma, Circati was named in the starting XI alongside towering centre-back Harry Souttar at the heart of Australia’s defence.

He did not look out of place. His performance and distribution highlighted a display beyond his years.

“It looked like he’d already played 30-40 caps. He was so calm,” Socceroos boss Graham Arnold told Network 10 after the match.

“I went over and watched him play against Sampdoria the other week. What you saw tonight is what you see at club level. He is very mature for a 20-year-old.”

Duke and Machida make J.League history

For the first time in their history, Machida Zelvia have been promoted to Japan’s top tier and Socceroos star Mitch Duke has played a key role.

Machida sealed promotion to the J1 League with a 3-0 win away to Roasso Kumamoto on Sunday.

After his international exploits with the Socceroos against England and New Zealand in the United Kingdom, Duke was a second-half substitute as the J2 League leaders clinched history.

It caps a successful season for Duke, who made the move to Machida on the back of a stellar 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup. The former A-Leagues striker has scored eight league goals and nine across all competitions.

With three rounds remaining, Machida are top of J2 and eight points clear of second-placed Shimizu S-Pulse. The top two teams will be promoted, while a third side will also go up via a four-team playoff. Only the bottom side in J1 will be relegated as the top division expands from 18 to 20 clubs in 2024.

“Right now, the overwhelming feeling is gratitude to so many people,” said Machida’s Daigo Takahashi said.

“It wasn’t just the players on the field, there were a lot of other people who helped us through frustrating times, and we were playing for them too.”

For Machida – who stunned Kevin Muscat’s Yokohama F.Marinos in the Emperor’s Cup this season, it caps a unique journey to J1.

In 2009, they debuted in the lower-tier Japan Football League before making their J2 bow three years later, only to be relegated after finishing bottom.

Machida were one of the J3 League’s founding clubs in 20214 and were promoted to J2 ahead of 2016 and two years later, they secured the necessary license for J1 eligibility after Tech firm CyberAgent acquired management rights.

Elsewhere in J2 League, Stefan Mauk scored for Fagiano Okayama in their dramatic 2-2 draw which saw the club concede a 97th-minute equaliser.

Okayama are 10th in the standings, three points outside of the top six.

In J1, Muscat‘s F.Marinos crushed Consadole Sapporo 4-1 to stay within four points of league-leading Vissel Kobe heading into the final four matches.

Mitch Langerak‘s Nagoya Grampus edged Gamba Osaka 1-0, Peter Cklamovski‘s FC Tokyo were upstaged by lowly John Hutchinson‘s lowly Yokohama FC 1-0, while Thomas Deng was an unused substitute in Albirex Niigata’s 1-1 draw at home to Sagan Tosu.

St Pauli still unbeaten after Irvine’s goal

Can anyone stop St Pauli in the 2.Bundesliga this season?

St Pauli are the only undefeated team in Germany’s second tier following their 2-2 draw away to Paderborn on Saturday.

Their Australian captain Jackson Irvine scored to put them ahead in the 78th minute before Paderborn equalised four minutes later.

It was his second goal in a week, having also struck for the Socceroos against New Zealand on Wednesday (AEDT), but his first of the league campaign.

Fellow Socceroo Connor Metcalfe came off the bench for St Pauli, who have not played in the Bundesliga since 2010-11.

“It was a wild game that started with Paderborn scoring an incredible goal,” Irvine said. “The first half was a tactical affair but after the interval we played with more intensity and quality. We were more assured in everything we did.

“We’re a bit disappointed not to have won the game having gone 2-1 in front 10 minutes from the end. We need to be cleverer, win more second balls and not allow a player with the pace of Conteh so much space. We have to learn from the performance again.

“The first half should have been much better from us, but we can be very pleased with the second, when we showed what a good team we are. We’ve taken a point off strong opposition. Over the 90 minutes it’s a fair result.”

In France, Denis Genreau came off the bench in Toulouse’s 1-1 Ligue 1 draw against Stade de Reims.

Patrick Kisnorbo‘s Troyes are now nine games without a win in Ligue 2 following a goalless draw at home to Concarneau.

After making his Socceroos debut against England, Mohamed Toure was a late substitute for Paris FC in their 3-1 win over Dunkerque.

Yazbek back among the goals for title contenders

Former Sydney FC midfielder Patrick Yazbek ended his goal drought in a wild shootout between Viking FK and Tromso in Norway’s Eliteserien.

Yazbek, who was in the Socceroos squad as a train-on player, had not scored for Viking since April though he has supplied five assists this season.

But the 21-year-old was on target in Viking’s thrilling 4-3 loss at home to fourth-placed Tromso.

He fired a shot across Tromso goalkeeper Jakob Haugaard in the 63rd minute, which helped reduce the deficit to 2-1.

It did inspire a rally as Viking scored twice, including in the 85th minute, to take a 3-2 lead, only to sensationally concede in the 89th and 94th minutes to lose.

Viking – without fellow Australians Nick D’Agostino and Gianni Stensness – are second in the standings, six points behind leaders Bodo-Glimt after 25 rounds.

In the Dutch Eredivisie, Socceroos captain Maty Ryan kept another clean sheet for AZ Alkmaar in their 3-0 win at home to Heerenveen.

It was Ryan’s eighth clean sheet of the season – the most across Europe’s top five leagues in all competitions.

AZ are second in the table, two points behind PSV after nine matches.

Garang Kuol played 78 minutes in FC Volendam’s 2-1 loss to RKC Waalwijk after conceding in the 92nd minute.

In the Dutch second tier, Adrian Segecic‘s Dordrecht crushed Jong Ajax 4-0.

Over in the Belgian Pro League, Jordy Bos came off the bench in Westerlo’s 1-1 draw with Molenbeek, Aiden O’Neill was a stoppage-time substitute as Standard Liege rallied past Anderlecht 3-2 and Jason Davidson was introduced in the second half of KAS Eupen’s 4-1 loss to Union SG.

Elsewhere across the globe

There was no football for the Australians in the EFL Championship.

Sammy Silvera and Tom Glover were both unused substitutes while Riley McGree was absent from Middlesbrough’s 1-0 win over Birmingham City.

Harry Souttar was on the bench for Leicester City in their 3-1 victory against Swansea City and it was the same story for Nectar Triantis as Sunderland fell 2-1 to Stoke City.

Massimo Luongo and Cameron Burgess saw Ipswich Town’s match against Rotherham postponed after Storm Babet caused flooding around the stadium.

In League One, Alexander Robertson and Kusini Yengi both played in Portsmouth’s late 1-0 win over Carlisle United.

Jack Iredale was an unused substitute as Bolton Wanderers topped Jon Brady‘s Northampton town 2-1, Ashley Maynard-Brewer‘s Charlton Athletic crushed Reading 4-0, Nicholas Bilokapic‘s Peterborough United drew 2-2 with Wycombe Wanderers and Kenny Dougall‘s Blackpool drew 1-1 with Oxford United.

Craig Goodwin played 72 minutes in Al Wehda’s 3-1 loss to an Al Ahli side boasting Roberto Firmino, Riyad MahrezEdouard Mendy and Allan Saint-Maximin in the Saudi Pro League.

Grasshoppers celebrated a 2-1 win over Lugano in the Swiss Super League as Awer Mabil completed 90 minutes.