Celtic dazzler Shunsuke Nakamura has revealed he pleaded to be substituted against Kilmarnock this week. The normally placid Japanese midfielder had scored with a trademark free-kick in the 3-1 Co-operative Insurance Cup win at Rugby Park but he admitted his temper finally snapped and called for more protection from Scottish referees.
"The referee should really protect players from bad tackles or challenges that are dangerous," said Nakamura. "That's why I made a signal to the referee - rather than my opponent. I wanted to protest about the tackles.
"I was kicked on my left knee and had some pain, so I asked the manager to substitute me. 'We have the Hearts game on Sunday, of course, and I hope the pain will be better by then.
"I was happy to score and make a contribution to the team's success, although I didn't think the free-kick was perfect."
The time could be right for Yokohama Marinos to push to bring a fed-up Nakamura back to Japan in January.