ANGE POSTECOGLOU has admitted he is saddened by the vile abuse that has been directed towards Kyogo Furuhashi.
And the Celtic boss insisted his priority is to protect and support the Japanese striker who has hit the ground running following his £4.6million arrival from the J-League late last month.
Kyogo is already a massive favourite with the Hoops support following six goals in six starts and he looks like becoming a pivotal figure in the manager’s plans for the crucial season ahead.
Sadly, the 26-year-old international has become the target for disgusting and unacceptable insults from Ibrox fans only five days before the first Glasgow derby of the campaign in Govan on Sunday.
Greek-Australian boss Postecoglou said: “To be honest, it saddens me a lot because I’m the one who brought him over.
“I spent three-and-a-half years in Japan, I was a foreigner, and I was welcomed with open arms.
“I know how polite and respectful the Japanese people are and I’m the one who brought Kyogo here. I’m sure his experience is the extreme opposite of what’s been portrayed in the last 48 hours.
“I’ve been talking to him and he loves being here, he loves the city, he loves the way everyone’s embraced him.
“But it’s not about education and people are more than well aware of what’s right and wrong – just be a decent human being and treat people with respect.
“Even for myself, I’ve been lucky enough to walk around Glasgow with my family and you see all the different nationalities and different establishments – whether that’s restaurants, businesses – and it’s obvious that people have come from all over the world to make this city a great city.
“I love that – that’s kind of my background. I’m an immigrant and to hear that, even if it is a minority, it shouldn’t be there and it does sadden me.
“Our number one priority is to protect and support the player. He’s a cracking guy. He’s such a nice young man and he doesn’t deserve any of that type of behavior – no-one does.”
It’s clear the Hoops followers are solidly behind the pacy frontman and that can be witnessed by the amount of Japan flags and Celtic tops with his name emblazoned across the back.
Postecoglou, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “That’s the beauty of football. When you walk around Celtic Park, you’ll see images, whether that’s Nakamura or Henrik Larsson, or whoever it is, and when you start bringing people from outside your own space, whether that’s your nation or even your neighbourhood, that’s when it enriches it. It enriches people’s lives.
“That’s why people leave their homes and come halfway across the world because they’re good at something, but it actually enriches the place that you go to.
“I’ve always loved that about football – I always thought it was a unifier because, in terms of football, it didn’t matter where you were from, what economic status you might have or what your background was, you could play this game and it brought people together.
“And having Kyogo here, or Liel Abada here – young men who I think put smiles on people’s faces – I don’t see how people try and make a negative out of that.”