KYOGO FURUHASHI brought down the curtain on 2023 with his breathtaking derby winner at Parkhead last weekend.
It was the second time this season the Japanese speedster had fired in a spectacular points-clincher against the Govan club after doing likewise at Ibrox on September 3.
The latest strike against Celtic’s city rivals was his tenth of the current campaign – a tally that is down fairly dramatically on his previous two terms following his £4.6million arrival from Vissel Kobe in July 2021.
GREEN FOR GO…Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates his double in Celtic’s League Cup Final success over Hibs at Hampden on December 19 2021.
Kyogo had claimed 15 by this stage in his debut crusade, including a double salvo in the League Cup Final against Hibs at Hampden to hand the Hoops their first piece of silverware in Ange Postecoglou’s revival season.
Last year, he had hit 15 again as he continued to menace the opposition with his uncanny timing in the penalty box and his deadly finishing touch.
Despite breaking his Champions League jinx with goals against Lazio and Atletico Madrid, Kyogo has failed to consistently put the opposition to the sword and hasn’t lived up to his previous admittedly high standards.
DERBY DELIGHT No.1…Kyogo Furuhashi volleys in the winner at Ibrox in early September last year as Connor Goldson gets a close-up view of his opponent’s striking talents.
He was overlooked for his nation’s Asian Cup squad with team-mates Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda involved in the competition which is scheduled to kick off a week today and run for a month.
Brendan Rodgers has revealed one reason why the fans’ favourite has not been sparking on all cylinders this time around – the fleet-footed frontman is STILL bothered by the shoulder injury he sustained after only two minutes of the champions’ 4-0 romp against Giovanni van Brockhorst’s shell-shocked Ibrox side in September 2022.
The Hoops gaffer, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “This break will definitely help Kyogo. He needs a bit of recovery time and then we can get some work in before the games start again.
DERBY DELIGHT No.2…Kyogo Furuhashi prepares to lash in Celtic’s second goal on their way to a 2-1 triumph over their city rivals at Parkhead on December 30.
“He is moving back towards what I would expect from him with his runs, movement and chances. But his shoulder is still the same. He could get it fixed, but he’d be out for four months.
“Listen, if it was something that was desperate then he would have the operation. But it’s not imminent. It may be something he decides to do in three or four years’ time. It’s not desperately needed, otherwise clearly he would have done it before now.
“From time to time his shoulder pops out. Then he just pops it back in again.”
Everyone of a Celtic persuasion hopes the club’s talisman will start to pop in the goals in his usual consistent manner as soon as the campaign restarts with the Scottish Cup Fourth Road tie against Buckie Thistle a fortnight today.