“Kyogo is very receptive. He’s not a baby, remember, he’s 28,” Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers reckons that it’s an urban myth that he’s changed Kyogo’s game and that as a consequence the goals have dried up for Celtic’s Japanese striker.

And he also argued that Kyogo dropping out of the team for the recent matches against Hibs and Kilmarnock has nothing to do with his goalscoring drought but simply is a realisation that no player can be expected to play in every match during such a busy spell.

 Kyogo Furuhashi is seen during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Hibernian at Celtic Park  on December 06, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Rodgers has also spoken over the past few weeks of the need to give game-time to the players who have been patient waiting their chance and that has come Oh’s way over the past few matches. Tonight though it will be Kyogo who leads the line against Feyenoord at Celtic Park.

“I’ve seen him play over the last couple of seasons, and he’s got the issue with his shoulder. Nothing has changed in Kyogo’s game. He’s not been asked to play any differently. His strength is his penetration. That’s his game, running in behind and timing his runs,” Rodgers explained as reported by Scottish Sun.

 Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates after he scores his team’s second goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Aberdeen at Celtic Park on November 12, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“You have to make ten runs maybe to only get it once, but that’s your job as a striker. So there’s been nothing changed in that. We are looking to add to Kyogo when the ball comes in. If you look at his numbers and stats he was very rarely involved in the game, and especially when you are playing teams who are sat low in the pitch.

“He’s not going to have a lot of numbers. Sometimes then as a striker what do is you wander a bit to come underneath for the ball. There’s been absolutely nothing different asked of him because his strength is playing off the last line, timing his movements and being instinctive in the opposition box.

Kyogo Furuhashi runs with the ball during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and St. Mirren at Celtic Park on November 01, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“He’s not a dribbler, he’s not someone who does drop in. He can do it but it’s not his strength.”

And the Celts manager confirmed that Kyogo will start this evening against Feyenoord as another sorry Champions League campaign draws to a close.

“He will play. I think we have to be fair to Kyogo and some of the other boys too. They can’t play in every single game. He’s shown up well at this level. He’s been a threat in every game he’s played, and instinctively in the box he can get goals.

“Strikers go through wee stages at times where you can sometimes chase the goal, or maybe you don’t like the pass, or you look for it so much. But that’s what goal scorers do. It’s not a worry. There’s nothing different in his game.

Kyogo Furuhashi of Celtic celebrates after scoring the team’s first goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between theRangers and Celtic FC at Ibrox on September 03, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“We went through his video stuff the other week. We looked primarily on the fact I don’t need him dropping in so much. When you’re playing in a lot of games where teams are sat deep, you don’t get a kick of the ball really unless it comes into the box.

“So what do you do? You start wandering, and that’s the challenge for a striker who wants to affect games. But Kyogo is very receptive. He’s not a baby, remember, he’s 28. There is no good in him having 40 touches if we’re not creating anything. That’s not what he is, he’s not a creator. Kyogo’s a guy on the last line who makes runs and is there to finish the moves. And you have to be there to finish the move.”

Celtic v Ross County – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers arrives for the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday August 5, 2023. Photo Steve Welsh

The one point that Brendan Rodgers didn’t address was the reduction in service from the wings which contributed so much to Kyogo’s goalscoring exploits under Ange Postecoglou. The sale of Jota, plus losing Liel Abada and also more recently Daizen Maeda to injury, has reduced Celtic’s creative potency in the wide areas with Yang, Mikey Johnston and James Forrest all struggling to impress when given the chance on the right and Luis Palma inconsistent on the left.

Sort that and Kyogo starts scoring regularly.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk


  1. Again with Rodgers its never his fault. Almost halfway through the season and he wouldn’t get pass marks. Out league cup first game, disaster in Europe out before last group game and squandering a substantial lead in the league.

  2. Kyogo was knocked out in one recent game and assaulted away to St Johnstone. I can well understand why Rodgers gave him a break. Abada and Mazda longstanding injuries have only shown up the squad is a bit shallow on the wings. Johnston and Yang not up to it, for different reasons.
    Never seen such negativity from Celtic fans after a couple of poor performances, shocking