ONE exquisite touch from Kyogo Furuhashi was all that was required to win the twentieth League Cup in Celtic’s history at Hampden yesterday.

A beautifully-timed run from the Japanese striker and an inspirational free-kick from Tom Rogic, allying precision with perception, presented the opening in the 72nd minute with a thrilling silverware showpiece against Hibs deadlocked at 1-1.

The Edinburgh club had stunned the Parkhead men with the opening goal in the 50th minute when Paul Hanlon escaped the clutches of Carl Starfelt to climb high and direct a header from a right-wing corner-kick delivery from Martin Boyle beyond Joe Hart, despite the gallant attempt by Josip Juranovic to clear on the line.

THE EQUALISER…Kyogo Furuhashi sidefoots the ball wide of keeper Matt Macey as Celtic swiftly respond to going behind.

MAKING HIS POINT…Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates his quickfire leveller.

Celtic’s reponse was instantaneous with Kyogo’s equaliser immediately after the restart following another spurt into space to tame Callum McGregor’s immaculate and probing pass from the left.

His second caress of the ball was to send a low left-foot drive beyond the startled Matt Macey in the opponents’ goal.

The moment to treasure arrived 20 minutes later when he was picked out by quick-thinking Rogic who didn’t hesitate to despatch a set-piece from around the halfway line on the right. As the ball swished its way to its destination, the Edinburgh side claimed they had been expecting play to be held up to allow substitute Scott Allan to come on for Josh Campbell.

PERFECTION…Kyogo Furuhashi makes contact with Tom Rogic’s free-kick with Ryan Porteous looking on.

Quite rightly, their pleas were ignored by referee John Beaton. It’s worth pointing out the former Hoops midfielder was hardly prepared to come on. For a start, he will still wearing his tracksuit top.

All of this meant little to Kyogo as he sped onto the devastatingly-accurate ball from the rejuvenated Australian international playmaker. The pacy hitman summed up the situation in a heartbeat, took one touch as the ball dropped out of the mist and lifted an effort with mesmersing timing over the stranded Macey as the keeper came off his line.

The hush as the sphere made its slow-motion descent towards the back of the Hibs net was replaced by a ground-shuddering roar of delight.

The haunting memories of last season’s wretched campaign were obliterated in an instant.

Celtic were back on the trophy trail.

One touch was all it took.

CQN‘s snappers were on hand to capture the big moment. Enjoy!

ON ITS WAY…the ball takes off towards its target as Kyogo Furuhashi executes a magnificent piece of skill.

GOALBOUND…Kyogo Furuhashi looks on in anticipation as Ryan Porteous views the movement with trepidation.

HAPPY DAZE…Kyogo Furuhashi turns away in triumph as Paul Hanlon and Ryan Porteous get that sinking feeling.

KNEESY DOES IT…Kyogo Furuhashi slides across the Hampden truf in celebration.

THE BIG NOISE…Kyogo Furuhashi is congratulated by overjoyed substitute Anthony Ralston.

GRIN AND BEAR IT…Kyogo Furuhashi is mobbed by delighted team-mates. Architect Tom Rogic (extreme right) is about to join in.

IN THE PICTURE…Kyogo Furuhashi’s glorious Cup winner is caught on film for posterity.

IN WITH A SHOUT…Kyogo Furuhashi lets rip as he celebrates his 16th goal for the Hoops.

JOY BHOY…Kyogo Furuhashi sends a message to the celebrating Celtic followers.

YOU’RE IN MY HEART…the Hampden scoreboard says it all.

GOAL-DEN BHOY…picture perfect as Kyogo Furuhashi enjoys his national treasure.


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