ANGE POSTECOGLOU sent out a positive message for the start of 2022 when he reassured Celtic fans talismanic striker Kyogo Furuhashi will be able to add to his 16-goal haul.
The Japanese international striker lasted only 15 minutes before limping off in the Hoops’ 3-1 victory over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park this afternoon.
The Parkhead side’s followers were concerned when Kyogo, just returning to the line-up after missing the goalless stalemate with St Mirren in midweek, pulled up with what looked like a recurrence of his hamstring problem.
NOW YOU SEE ME…Kyogo Furuhashi against St Johnstone just minutes before he limped off.
Liel Abada took over as the main attack-leader and fired in a d first-half double with with Nir Bitton, captaining the team in place of the absent Callum McGregor, flashed in the third wight minutes from the end to settle the issue.
On the latest Kyogo setback, Postecoglou said: “Listen, we knew he wasn’t 100 per cent. He wanted to give it a go today. We said to him don’t overly risk it, so it’s nothing major, nothing that’s going to keep him out, anyway.”
Reflecting on the action in front of only 500 Saints fans, the Greek-Australian commented: “The break’s coming at the right time because I don’t like playing in empty stadiums, mate. I don’t know why people confuse the two.
“We didn’t want to keep playing not because of any other reason than, if anyone enjoyed today’s game in here, then I’m sorry, but they understand a different football game than I do.
“I like supporters here. I don’t care if they’re all away supporters, that’s what the game is about.”
WELL PLAYED, LIEL…Ange Postecoglou offers his compliments to two-goal Abada.
WELL PLAYED, NIR…Postecoglou congratulates skipper-for-the-day Bitton.
Postecoglou, speaking to Sky Sports News, continued: “I’m glad that we’ve stopped and there’s no guarantee that people will be back in when we resume, but I hope they are. At least, we give them a chance.
“I don’t know why people want to dismiss the effect that supporters have on our game.
“I assume everyone wants to play in front of packed houses otherwise we may as well just play in our backyards.”
Postecoglou took the chance to give 18-year-old Joey Dawson a debut when he came on for Kyogo, but he also praised the so-called old guard when he added: “It’s a good three points and we had the experience of players such as Nir Bitton, Tom Rogic, James McCarthy and Josip Juranovic to get the job done.”
The Hoops now have a three-week hiatus before they resume on the Monday evening of January 17 with a visit from Hibs before Saturday’s Scottish Cup-tie at Alloa.