ANGE POSTECOGLOU has revealed he has plans for Kyogo Furuhashi as he prepares for the climax of Celtic’s league and Cup challenge.

The 16-goal Japan striker hasn’t kicked a ball in 2022 after limping off early in the 3-1 Premiership win over St Johnstone at McDiramid Park on Boxing Day.

Kyogo had looked set to continue to play a crucial role for the Hoops after the turn of the year when he claimed a memorable double as the team overcame Hibs 2-1 to lift the Premier Sports League Cup at Hampden six days before Christmas.

DOWN AND OUT…Kyogo Furuhashi writhes in pain with the hamstring injury that has sidelined him for 16 consecutive games this year.

However, his persistent hamstring strain has seen him sidelined for SIXTEEN consecutive games at home and abroad.

But the Parkhead gaffer is refusing to rule out his team’s talismanic striker who became a massive hit with the supporters shortly after his £4.6million arrival from Vissel Kobe in late July, firing in a hat-trick in a 6-0 romp against Dundee on his first appearance in the east end of Glasgow.

Greek hitman Giorgos Giakoumakis has taken over Kyogo’s attack-leader mantle and collected 11 goals this year, including two hat-tricks against the Dens Park outfit and Ross County at Parkhead in the past 35 days.

Postecoglou is not giving any indication he will be able to team up his international frontmen any time soon, but he does admit he believes both have an important role to play in the critical last seven league games of the campaign with the Hoops leading by three points and due to play the third Glasgow derby of the season at Ibrox a week today.

HAMPDEN HURRAH…Kyogo Furuhashi turns away in triumph after lobbing in the Premier Sports League Cup winners against Hibs on December 19.

A fortnight after that, the two sets of players will come face to face again at the national stadium in the Scottish Cup semi-final with the silverware showdown scheduled for May 2. Edinburgh duo Hibs and Hearts will contest the other last-four encounter.

Postecoglou said: “For us, in the run-in, once we have Kyogo fit and ready to go, having that depth is going to help us.

“Kyogo and Giako are different types of striker, but they both have the characteristics we need.

HAT-TRICK HERO…Giorgos Giakoumakis celebrates one of his trio in the 4-0 win over Ross County last weekend.

“They’re hard workers, they work back defensively, but they’re also good finishers in the box. We will end up playing close to 60 games this season in four different competitions.”

The Hoops gaffer, speaking to the Sunday Mail, added: “I always knew that we’d need depth and these different types of players.

“The whole idea was to try and build a squad that was going to be robust and flexible – to face the different challenges we have.”

The Greek-Australian team boss has resolutely refused to put a timeline on the return of Kyogo, but the pacy raider has been spotted going through training routines at Lennoxtown and there have been claims he could be on the verge of a welcome comeback.

Watch this space!

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