KYOGO FURUHASHI completed his debut campaign at Celtic as the club’s top scorer with 20 goals.
Amazingly, the Japanese international striker, who joined in a £4.6million switch from Vissel Kobe in July last year, missed SEVENTEEN games after the turn of the year with a troublesome and persistent hamstring problem.
Kyogo had also been forced to sit out five outings in the first half of the season after sustaining an injury while on World Cup duty with his country.
And yet the pacy hitman, who netted the third goal in the 3-3 draw with Rapid Vienna in Austria at the weekend, somehow managed to lead the Hoops hit parade when his double salvo in the 6-0 win over Motherwell in May hoisted him to 20 in all competitions to complete an impressive record.
NET PROPHET…Kyogo Furuhashi is on target again with the third goal in the 3-3 draw with Rapid Vienna.
However, the 27-year-old attack-leader finished one off the pace in the Premiership charts behind colleague Giorgos Giakoumakis and surprise packet Regan Charles-Cook who quit Ross County for Belgium last month.
Kyogo, who was joined by his countrymen Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi in January as Ange Postecoglou’s men swept to the title, said: “We have good team-mates and supporters and I think that is why we can do better than last season.
“Personally, I would like to get good numbers. I want a minimum of 20 goals.
“Last season Giakoumakis got his top league scorer title, but I had opportunities. It would be nice to get that result. We are working hard and pushing and stimulating each other on the pitch.”
David Turnbull set up the frontman with his strike in Vienna and the Japanese ace was quick to compliment the midfielder by saying: “David did well to win the ball and gave me a nice pass that I was able to finish, which I am happy with, but the team has to win EVERY game.”
STRIPPED AND READY TO KYOGO…the Japanese star is poised for the new campaign.
Kyogo and the club’s international contingent were excused pre-season training at Lennoxtown, but caught up with the preparations in Austria although none of them was selected for the opening work-out, the 7-0 stroll against Third Division SC Weiner Viktoria in midweek.
They were welcomed back against their old European foes on Saturday evening and are now getting ready to move to the Czech Republic for the meeting with Banik Ostrava on Wednesday before their first game back at Parkhead on Saturday against Blackburn Rovers.
Kyogo, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “There is still a lot to improve and that is why we are training hard.
“I also want to get to a good fitness level to contribute to the team.
“The coaches prepare us well and with a good programme for the training sessions, which we are happy with.
“I still have personal tasks to overcome and that is why I am doing extra.”
PARADISE…Kyogo celebrates with the Celtic fans after the 6-0 win over Motherwell in the last game of the successful campaign on May 14.
Furuhashi fired in a hat-trick in his first appearance in the east end of Glasgow in the landslide 6-0 victory over Dundee on August 8 to become an immediate favourite with the support.
He added: “A lot of people started to recognise me in the street and in restaurants. I am very happy with that. I can do a lot of things.
“Yes, I can play football and that is how you can give something back to the fans.”
Looks like there are some exciting times ahead for Kyogo and his adoring legions.