AARON MOOY has hailed Kyogo Furuhashi as Celtic’s ghost who gives defenders nightmares.
The prolific Japanese striker hoisted this season’s goal tally to an impressive 24 with his double salvo in the 2-1 Viaplay League Cup Final triumph over their Ibrox opponents on Sunday.
Kyogo also completed his debut campaign at the Hoops as top scorer with 20 strikes, despite missing four months of the campaign through injury.
THE SIGNS ARE GOOD…Kyogo Furuhashi is congratulated by Greg Taylor after firing Celtic into the lead.
The lightning-swift 28-year-old international attacker struck just before the interval at Hampden for a typical penalty-box predator’s goal as he swooped onto a left-wing pass from Greg Taylor that had been missed by Daizen Maeda at the near post.
Kyogo reacted quicker than Allan McGregor and the Ibrox rearguard to tuck the ball into the inviting net from four yards.
And he repeated the feat in the second-half when he got in front of the hesitant Borna Barisic to snap up a low ball from Reo Hatate to knock in the eventual winner once again smack in front of goal.
Mooy is in awe of his team-mate and said: “If you put the ball in the box, you just know he’s always going to be ready to score. He’s quite amazing, really.
“You wonder where he is and then, all of a sudden, he’s there.
“His movement is amazing and defenders just don’t know which way he’s going to go. He must be a nightmare to play against. He’s one of the very best I’ve seen. And he’s quite a short guy, so to get on the end of so many crosses, it shows you what a player he is.”
HOOP HOOP HOORAY…marksman Kyogo Furuhashi and Aaron Mooy race away to celebrate the breakthrough goal at Hampden.
Thirty-two-year-old Mooy was reunited with his former Australia international team boss Ange Postecoglou when he signed a two-season deal in the summer and was thrilled to pick up his first honour as a Celt.
The intelligent playmaker, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “It felt amazing to win a trophy so soon in my Celtic career. I was absolutely buzzing.
“I think we played really well in the first-half and started the second-half well. We deserved to go 2-0 up. When they scored from the set-piece, it became a bit more nervy, but we showed great resilience.
“The celebrations afterwards? I can’t tell you! I’ve got friends and family over, the kids will be excited to see the medal, so I’ll show them first. Someone said there haven’t been that many Finals between Celtic and Rangers, which is a bit crazy.
“But it doesn’t get much better than winning a Cup Final at Hampden. It’s a special occasion, very special.”
SHOVE OFF…Aaron Mooy and Malik Tillman tussle for possession at Hampden.
Fashion Sakala made some bizarre comments in the countdown to the grand finale as he dismissed the champions and insisted the Govan club were “the better team”.
If it was intended to be mind games by the Zambian forward it was as much off the mark as his attempt to score in the second-half after Ryan Kent’s low drive had ricocheted off the foot of Joe Hart’s left-hand post into his path. He tamely rolled the rebound into the sidenet.
Mooy admitted he paid no intention to remarks and added: “I try not to read anything or watch anything. I try to stay away from that and focus on my job on the pitch.
“I feel you show your quality on the pitch. That’s all that matters, really, how you play.
“I don’t know if winning one Final gives us a psychological advantage. I wouldn’t say that.
“But it’s always good to get the job done when there’s a trophy on the line.
“I’m loving my time at Celtic and, hopefully, this could be a very special season for me. That’s why you put in the work every day, to make the best memories you can make.
“That’s what I’m trying to do.”