KYOGO FURUHASHI’S hopes of a quickfire winning start to his Celtic career were demolished at Tynecastle on the Saturday evening of July 31 2021.

The Hoops’ new striker had just arrived in Scotland from Japan in the early hours of that morning following his £4.6million switch from J-League outfit Vissel Kobe.

Boss Ange Postecoglou, preparing for his Premiership bow, resisted throwing the frontman in at the start of the 5pm kick-off against Hearts which was being televised live.

However, with the contest stalemated at 1-1, the Greek-Australian gaffer decided to take a chance on Kyogo when he gave him the nod to replace Liel Abada in the 79th minute. The latest recruit in the squad rebuild hardly got the chance to get a touch of the ball when the hosts netted a last-gasp winner.

CAPITAL JIG OF JOY…Kyogo Furuhashi takes to the air much to the delight of Matt O’Riley after scoring in Celtic’s 4-1 victory at Tynecastle earlier this season.

The Japanese international exacted revenge just over a fortnight later when he netted past ex-Hoops hero Craig Gordon in Celtic’s 3-2 League Cup win at Parkhead. It was a triumph that propelled Postecoglou’s men all the way to the silverware showdown against Hibs in December when Kyogo thumped in a double in a memorable 2-1 comeback success.

Kyogo’s ‘curse’ on Hearts continued when he got the only goal of the league  game in the east end of Glasgow on December 2 as the Hoops picked up momentum on their way to the ultimate prize at the conclusion of an unforgettable crusade.

The 29-year-old marksman was injured and missed the next game against the Edinburgh outfit on January 26 2022 when goals from his countryman Reo Hatate and Greek powerhouse Giorgos Giakoumakis gave the visitors a 2-1 win.

However, Kyogo returned in the next fixture and once again was on the scoresheet along with Daizen Maeda, Matt O’Riley and Giakoumakis in the 4-1 success in the east end of Glasgow on May 7 en route to the crown.

SPELLBOUND…Kyogo Furuhashi goes through his ball-juggling routine as Hearts defender Toby Sibbick looks on.

There was no stopping the fans’ favourite the following season when he netted in the 2-0 win over the Gorgie club at Parkhead on August 21, but was injured and missed the 4-3 away victory when Greg Taylor scored the winning goal on October 22, the day the dreaded VAR was introduced to Scottish football.

Kyogo was back in position when the teams locked horns again on Wednesday March 8 last year and once more he tucked one away in a 3-1 triumph with Maeda and Sead Haksabanovic joining in.

Three days later, the sides squared up in the Scottish Cup at Tynecastle and Kyogo – surprise, surprise – was on target alongside Aaron Mooy and Cameron Carter-Vickers in a 3-0 win on the way to the team sealing the trophy with a 3-1 success over Inverness Caley Thistle on June 3.

It was that man Kyogo who pointed Celtic on their way to victory at Hampden with the opening strike on the day the team made history as being the first club to schieve eight domestic clean sweeps.

CROWNING GLORY…Kyogo Furuhashi and Liel Abada celebrate Celtic’s 2-0 win at Tynecastle in May that sealed a second successive Premiership title.

Before that, though, in Edinburgh on May 7, Kyogo flashed in a near-post goal to open the scoring in the 2-0 victory that clinched the second successive Premiership title. Oh Hyeon-gyu made certain with the second.

This season, on his first return to the venue after last term’s successes, Kyogo walloped one past Zander Clark as Brendan Rodgers’ side eased to a 4-1 victory with O’Riley, Maeda and Tomoki Iwata, with his first Celtic goal, also on target.

The only blip in the sequence of retribution for spoiling his debut came in the 2-0 loss to the Edinburgh club at Parkhead on December 16 when Kyogo and his team-mates fired blanks in a mystifyingly lacklustre performance.

The Japanese ace will be hoping normal service is resumed in Edinburgh in the High Noon showdown on Sunday.

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