KYOGO FURUHASHI will be Celtic’s main goal threat as the Champions League excursion gets underway in Rotterdam tomorrow night.
Brendan Rodgers’ men are preparing to take on Dutch title winners Feyenoord in the De Kuip stadium in the opening encounter in Group E which also includes Atletico Madrid and Lazio.
Kyogo, who claimed a spectacular header in the 3-0 win over Dundee at the weekend for his fourth goal of the campaign and the 57th of his Hoops career, will be marked as the No.1 dangerman by the hosts.
VOLLEY GOOD SHOW…Kyogo Furuhashi thumps in the winner at Ibrox.
However, the fleet-footed frontman believes Rodgers’ side has another “game-changer” in their ranks – his compatriot Reo Hatate who returned after injury as a substitute for David Turnbull on the hour mark against the Dens park club who were swept away in the second-half after stubborn resistence in the opening period.
The Japanese midfielder has been hampered by fitness problems and has yet to start a competitive game, but Kyogo has no doubt about the qualities of his fellow-international.
The bargain £4.6million buy from Vissel Kobe in July 2021 insisted: “We have a lot of quality throughout our squad, but especially with Reo.
“He is one of the players who can make the difference in matches – he’s a game-changer.
“It’s obviously a great advantage for us to have him in the team. Obviously, the manager decides the starting line-up, but I have no doubt he will be ready.”
REO GRAND…midfielder Reo Hatate can hold Celtic’s key to Euro success.
Kyogo won the Man of the Match award, but not before giving the Hoops support a scare by leaving the field in the 17th minute in obvious distress with a shoulder problem.
It looked to be game over from the team’s talisman, but he returned shortly afterwards and his courage was rewarded with a goal in the second-half and then he set up the third goal for Matt O’Riley with a neat cutback from the byeline.
Asked if the troublesome injury may eventually require surgery, Kyogo replied: “There is no problem. None at all. There’s no problem, so nothing to worry about.”
Preparing for the Rotterdam confrontation, Kyogo, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “Last season competing in the Champions League was a very good experience for us, individually and as a team.
“Getting back there this year, we want to enjoy our football and, hopefully, this time we can get a few more results. We learned a lot from last season.
HEADS, I WIN…Kyogo Furuhashi nods in Celtic’s second past the helpless Trevor Carson.
“When you are in the tough situations it’s about how many shots you can block, how many tackles you can make, how many crosses you can prevent.
“After that, it’s about how many chances we can convert when the opportunities arise. It’s about scoring goals when the chances come. Last season we had the chances – but we didn’t convert them to goals.
“That is what we have to change for this season. We know we have the quality in the squad and we will have the backing of the supporters. It’s up to us to do our best to make the supporters happy.”