HITMAN Kyogo Furuhashi has set his sights on a double target – a century of Celtic goals and an impact on the Champions League.
The Japanese striker, one of Ange Postecoglou’s first recruits as a bargain £4.6million buy from Vissel Kobe in July 2021, was recognised by his fellow-PFA Scotland professionals and his Hoops team-mates as he scooped both Player of the Year awards.
Kyogo’s 30 goals this season – plus last term’s 20 – took him onto the half-century and he still has three league games and a Scottish Cup Final to add to his tally before the curtain comes down on a memorable crusade.
HAMPDEN HERO…Kyogo Furuhashi prepares to clip in Celtic’s opener past Allan McGregor in Celtic’s 2-1 League Cup Final triumph in February.
The pacy 28-year-old attack leader will give it his best shot in the remaining Premiership encounters against St Mirren and Aberdeen at Parkhead and Hibs at Easter Road plus the Scottish Cup Final against Inverness Caley Thistle at Hampden on Saturday June 3 to top his total.
Kyogo has already struck gold as he had played his part in the team winning a second successive title and his double salvo brought the League Cup back to the east end of Glasgow in February as the holders overcame Michael Beale’s Ibrox side.
And only Billy Dodds’ Championship outfit stand between Kyogo and Co from claiming the glorious treble, the eighth in Celtic history.
Asked if he could reach the 100-goal milestone, cheery Kyogo answered: “Hopefully, I will, but we don’t know the future. I just want to work hard for the club. I want to play as many days as I can and make the supporters happy. That’s how I feel.
“Even outside of the pitch, people recognise me and say hi. They say positive things about me, whether home or away they support me. I feel that, I am happy about it and it’s helping me perform well.
“I just want to be a striker who can score more goals and threaten the opponents.”
CROWNING GLORY…Kyogo Furuhashi knocks in Celtic’s first goal in the 2-0 win over Hearts at Tynecastle to seal the second title earlier this month.
Kyogo, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I am really pleased to win all the awards. The reason I got them was due to all the support from the fans, my team-mates and the coaching staff.
“Everyone has supported me and I could not be happier.”
There has been a landslide of accolades for the player since he first stepped foot on these shores and some supporters are claiming he is the best finisher at the club since the legendary Henrik Larsson.
Kyogo’s response is a typical smile as he says: “I am very pleased to be compared with one of the greatest players in Celtic’s history.”
The prolific marksman claimed his first strike for the Hoops in his first start – a 4-2 win over FK Jablonec in the Europa League first leg qualifier in the Czech Republic a week after his arrival – but, unfortunately, he could not get on the scoresheet in Europe’s most prestigious competition this term.
PARADISE…Kyogo Furuhashi hails another goal with his trademark celebration.
He aims to rectify that situation next time out and added: “I definitely feel we can make a bigger impact in the Champions League.
“We will look at where we can improve. We want to achieve something bigger and do more than we did last season.
“It’s the Champions League. Any team playing at this level is a great team.”
Meanwhile, St Mirren are the first on Kyogo’s hit list when they provide the opposition at Parkhead on Saturday, an outing where the fans at last get the opportunity to show their appreciation for the club’s title success following two away games at Tynecastle and Ibrox.
The lightning-swift raider thumped in a double when the champions romped to a 4-0 win over the Paisley club in Glasgow in January and he will be looking to better that achievement on this occasion.