ANGE POSTECOGLOU will welcome Japan international boss Hajime Moriyasu to Paradise.

The international chief raised a few eyebrows when he snubbed the claims of 26-goal Kyogo Furuhashi and in-form midfielder Reo Hatate from the last squad.

Daizen Maeda got the nod, but perplexingly made a 12,000-mile round-trip to sit on the substitutes’ bench for the 1-1 draw with Uruguay before taking the decision to return to Scotland before the second match against Columbia.

IT TAKES TWO…Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate celebrate one of the striker’s 26 goals this season.

Moriyasu hinted the quality of the Premiership was the reason behind his decision to overlook Kyogo and Hatate, but confused the situation by including their team-mate.

The Japanese chief and his coaching staff are now planning a visit to Europe to assess players ahead of the summer internationals.

Hoops boss Postecoglou said: “Haijime has been here before to visit us and we have had other staff from the Japan national team, too. There have been other coaches visit and I believe Jurgen Klinsmann is planning a trip. There are no issues.

“I know Hajime very well from my time over there and I would be happy to see him.

“We are a very welcoming club for everyone.”

Kyogo, who was also overlooked for the World Cup Finals, despite scoring 20 goals in his debut campaign in Scotland, has not allowed his omission from the international arena to upset him.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS…Ange Postecoglou has a hug for Kyogo Furuhashi after the Japanese striker’s hat-trick in the 6-0 win over Dundee during his Parkhead debut in August 2021.

Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “Kyogo is always positive, but don’t be mistaken. He is a very ambitious and determined player.

“You don’t play in his position at that level if you don’t have that. Kyogo is disappointed, no doubt about that. He wants to be part of the Japan national team and feels he can make an impact.

“At the same time, he uses that as motivation. He doesn’t let himself get down or allow his mood to change because of that.

“He wants to perform for Celtic, score goals and excite our supporters. He feels if he does that then it’s his best chance of getting back in.

“Kyogo has a great outlook on life, he is a nice guy and a gentle soul. He is always smiling and gets along with everyone.

“But don’t let that fool you. He has that determination and will do everything he can to do that.”

The pacy hitman, one of Postecoglou’s first buys for the Hoops when he arrived in a £4.6million switch from Vissel Kobe in July 2021, will lead the line in Dingwall tomorrow as the champions look to beat Ross County for the third time in the Highlands this season.

Following their wins in the Premiership and League Cup – 3-1 and 4-1 respectively – Kyogo and Co are aiming for three more points in their quest for a second successive title.


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