ANGE POSTECOGLOU insists he will not be dwelling too much on the comments of Kyogo Furuhashi’s critics.

The Celtic boss admits the remarks are “centred around ignorance” and from folk “probably having an agenda”.

The Japanese international striker, who is likely to be given a rest in this evening’s meaningless and final Europa League Group G encounter against Real Betis at Parkhead, has been on the receiving end of some sniping by people who claim he goes to ground far too easily.

Kyogo went down after being slapped on the head by Livingston defender Aye Obileye in October leaving referee Bobby Madden little option but to red card the culprit and award a penalty-kick. Alas, striker Giorgos Giakoumakis squandered the stoppage-time opportunity with a timid effort which was easily saved by keeper Max Stryjek and the game finished goalless.

KYOGO CLATTERED…Celtic’s Japanese forward is struck by Ayo Obileye as Giorgos Giakoumakis tries to intervene. The flashpoint incident sparked a red card for the Livingston defender – and a fluffed penalty-kick from the Greek striker.
Other occasions involving the pacy 14-goal hitman have been flagged up while serial offenders at other clubs appear to be immune to any sort of criticism or similar observations.

Postecoglou said: “It always amuses me when I hear these big, brave warriors sitting on the sidelines judging guys like Kyogo – who’s literally built like a jockey playing against guys who are six foot three – questioning his bravery or his courage in playing the game.

“Look, I haven’t followed that narrative and it’s not something I’d be interested in having meaningful discussion because it virtually is centred around ignorance and probably having an agenda.

“So, I’m not going to do that track. What I will say is I would be very surprised if any people who love football, irrespective of who they support, don’t think Kyogo is great for this competition.

THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT…Kyogo Furuhashi with Hoops team-mate Nir Bitton at Dens Park last month.

“He is certainly great for our football club. Our supporters love him, which is the most important thing, even for the competition. He’s exciting to watch.

“He’s trying to improve every day. He’s a great guy to have around, he’s an absolute gentleman and, beyond that, I’m not brave enough to take on all these other big courageous, couch-sitting, observers of the game, mate.”

Postecoglou, speaking on Celtic TV, added: “I’m sure the opposition will try to stop him. But I’d like to think they’re doing that in legal ways. Kyogo doesn’t expect to go out there and not get marked or not get attention, physical or otherwise.

NOT IMPRESSED…Ange Posetcoglou can’t disguise his disdain for critical comments of Kyogo Furuhashi.
“So, that’s no issue. I’m sure he’s had that already, mate. I don’t think people have been ignoring him since day one. I mean, you can’t ignore him because the first game he played in Europe he scored.

“But that’s not an issue. This is not an onfield issue. This is an issue brought about by people who aren’t actually out there.

“So, for me, it’s a non-issue.”

Postecoglou will give some game time to some of his fringe players against Manuel Pellegrini’s La Liga outfit and Kyogo, who has played almost 11 months of continous football, could get a break with Albian Ajeti making a rare start.

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