Celtic Striker Kyogo’s Season Review – 8.5/10

Back in July 2021 Celtic signed Japanese international Kyogo Furuhashi for £4.6 million from J-League side Vissel Kobe, with the 26 year old signing a four-year contract. When signing for the Parkhead side Kyogo explained what he will bring to the club. Talking to Celtic TV, he said:

“My game is all about goals and assists – it will be the same for me at Celtic as it was at Vissel Kobe. I had a great send-off from the fans at the club. Kobe became my second home. But now it’s all about proving myself in a different culture and country. I can’t wait to get started.”

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou was clearly thrilled at bringing in his number one target from Japan, and believed his new recruit would add something special to his squad:

“We are delighted to bring Kyogo Furuhashi to Celtic. He is a player of real quality and clearly someone I know well. I think he will add something special to our squad and I am sure the way he plays will excite our supporters. We look forward to welcoming him to Celtic.”

He scored his first goal for the club on his first start, against Jablonec in the Europa League third qualifying round in early August. Three days later, Furuhashi scored his first Scottish Premiership goals, netting a 67-minute hat-trick in a 6–0 win against Dundee. Following this he went on to score in both legs against AZ Alkmaar as he helped secure Celtic’s passage to the Europa League group stages.

Kyogo Furuhashi. Photo Andrew Milligan

He was hugely impressive while playing on the continent. During his 9 European appearances, in the Europa League qualifiers and in the group stages, Kyogo bagged 5 goals in total including against Fenencvaros both home and away helping us secure our passage into the Europa Conference League.

Even in the early days of last season it was clear to see that Ange Postecoglou had unearthed an absolute gem. Unfortunately Kyogo’s blistering start in Glasgow was curtailed slightly when he picked up his first injury of the season, a knee injury which saw him miss a few weeks during September. When he returned it was back to business for Kyogo, scoring against Aberdeen as Celtic claimed a vital 2-1 away win up at Pittodrie.

After claiming more important goals against Hibs, Dundee (x2) and Hearts, Kyogo was to fall foul to injury once again, coming off before half time in our final Europa League game against Real Betis. He returned just in time for our biggest game of the season so far, against Hibs in the League Cup final back on the 19th December.

That day Kyogo showed he is a player who can be relied upon in the big games. He scored both goals as Celtic went on to win our first trophy of the season, coming back from 1-0 down in the process. It was the day he truly cemented his reputation amongst the Celtic faithful. It seemed like he was returning at the perfect time, helping Celtic claim their first silverware of the season just before the busy festive schedule but unfortunately Kyogo’s luck was to desert him once more.

Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates scoring Photo: Andrew Milligan

On Boxing Day he would once again have to leave the pitch early, as his hamstring injury reappeared once more, this time he would unfortunately be ruled out for over 3 months. He returned in the final game before the top six split, coming on against St Johnstone as a late substitute. He would go on to score 4 goals during the last 5 league games as Celtic wrapped up the League title, reminding us all of what we missed during his absence.

Kyogo has been an overwhelming success since arriving on these shores. When he first came to Celtic, very little of us knew anything about the pacy attacker having spent his whole career in Japan and only recently having broke into the international set up. Luckily our new manager Ange Postecoglou knew the player extremely well from viewing him at close quarters while managing in the same league so knew exactly what he was getting when he paid over £4.5m for him.

Throughout an injury hit season Kyogo amassed a total of 33 appearances. Within that time he managed to score an incredible 20 goals and also provide 5 assists. If it hadn’t been for his bad luck with injuries it’s frightening to think what his stats could have been.

19th December 2021; Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland; Scottish League Cup final, Hibernian versus Celtic: Kyogo Furuhashi of Celtic celebrates after he makes it 2-1 to Celtic in the 72nd minute

He offers Celtic so much on the pitch, and during the times he has been missing during the season with injury it has been clear how much we missed him. Playing as the lone striker he offers so much to the team. His goals and assists speak for themselves but that isn’t all he provides. He is constantly on the move across the front line, dragging defenders out of position and never giving them a moment’s rest. He also mucks in when the opposition has the ball, pressing players in possession and tracking back when needed.

Celtic fans all appreciate how privileged we are to have a player like Kyogo currently in our ranks. The sky is truly the limit for our Japanese star. Anyone who knows anything about football can see that he is a huge talent. I hope that we will see him ply his trade in the hoops for another few years to come. If he stays at Celtic Park long term there is definitely an opportunity for him to secure his position as a club legend. With Champions League football guaranteed for next season, Kyogo has the perfect platform to show the world his talent.

Kyogo made a fantastic contribution towards Celtic’s success last season, if it hadn’t been for bad luck with injuries I have a feeling he would have pushed Callum McGregor all the way when it came to the player of the season awards. As it was he still ended the season as one of Celtic’s most important players and therefore I will be giving him 8.5/10 for the season.

If he can manage to navigate next season while staying injury free I have no doubt he will be on his way to writing his name into the Celtic history books.

Conall McGinty

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About Author

Hailing from Cushendall in the North of Ireland my formative years were spent watching Celtic during our barren spell through the 90's which meant I have appreciated our recent trophy-laden spell even more. Favourite matches home and away I've attended has to be beating Man Utd 1-0 at Celtic Park and being with my 2 brothers watching us beat Lazio 2-1 in Rome. Best away day experience? Has to be Munich with friends from Coatbridge...what a few days!

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