KYOGO FURUHASHI managed something against Queen’s Park that eluded him throughout last season – score three goals in one game.

The Japanese striker failed to claim a hat-trick last time out as he struggled for consistency and had to be content with a goal haul of 19, his lowest tally in his three years at the Hoops.

Kyogo hit 20 in his debut campaign, including a trio in his first appearance at Parkhead as the champions thumped Dundee 6-0 in August 2021.

It was a praiseworthy total considering Ange Postecoglou’s £4.6million recruit from J-League Vissel Kobe in the summer had missed four months of action due to two different injuries.

ON THE BALL…Kyogo Furuhashi has hit the ground running in Celtic’s two pre-season games.

Kyogo followed that up with 34 strikes before his dip in fortunes last time out.

The nearest the fans’ favourite came to a trio was the double he collected in the 3-0 home win over Hearts on May 4.

However, there was no stopping the pacy raider at Lesser Hampden last night as he thrashed in a hat-trick in an hour before being replaced in the 6-4 win as the club make their final preparations before flying out to America a week on Saturday.

Brendan Rodgers was delighted with Kyogo, who also netted a penalty-kick in the 1-1 draw with Scott Brown’s Ayr United at Somerset Park on Friday night.

The Hoops boss said: “He’s looking top. He’s been very bright, I’ve got to say. He’s come back after a nice break and he’s worked very hard.

“Kyogo has hit four goals in two games, which is great.

“Against Queen’s Park, you could see the sharpness and brightness. So, it’s really nice for him.

“It’s only pre-season, but like I say before the game, this is a big opportunity whether you are a senior player or a young player to make a good start.”

ON THE SPOT…Kyogo Furuhashi claims the first of his four pre-season goals with a penalty-kick in Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Ayr United at Somerset Park.

Rodgers, speaking to the Scottish Sun, continued: “I say to the players – and Kyogo typified it – that these are not pre-season friendlies. They never are. It’s a pre-season test.

“When you’re a Celtic player, you walk out at a big club and it’s never a friendly because the other team will always raise their game.

“So, see the games as a test. You can see Kyogo pressing, he’s running, he’s moving. Everything was really good. So, he’s started very brightly.”

The Irishman added: “The supporters got their money’s worth in the game. I think it was another step up for us.

“Some of the attack and play in the first half was good. The pressing was nowhere near what I would want it to be and that was just down to a couple of wee things that were wrong within the structure and meant we weren’t quite where we should be positionally.

“But even when the changes came along it was much more aggressive and then that’s when we play our football.”


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