Michael Stewart believes Celtic are already missing Kyogo Furuhashi

By David Walton

September 13, 2021

Michael Stewart believes Celtic are already missing Kyogo Furuhashi as he states they didn’t stretch the Ross County defence enough on Saturday.

The Hoops ran out comfortable 3-0 winners against the Dingwall side at Celtic Park over the weekend. It was an important three points to bag given the whirlwind week the club endured on and off the pitch.

Outside of the Dom McKay departure, Furuhashi’s month-long injury diagnosis was the biggest blow of the week. Celtic instead had to feature Albian Ajeti against County due to the absence of Giorgos Giakoumakis, and the Swiss forward bagged a brace to get himself back on the goal trail.

Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images

But even still, Stewart doesn’t believe Ajeti makes enough of an impact when it comes to opening teams up.

Speaking via the BBC Scottish Football Podcast on Saturday, Stewart said:

“I think there will be a wee bit of disappointment from Ange Postecoglou’s perspective that the performance was a little bit lacklustre. Kyogo’s going to be out for a month, and I definitely think looking at that game that his influence on the Celtic team is there for all to see with him not being in the side as well.

“Jota down the left hand side I thought he showed flashes, but Tom Rogic would seldom run beyond from a number 10 position in behind the striker. So it’s important that you get someone doing that. That may well be like a second striker like Jota coming off the wing. I don’t think I saw a great deal of that either, and it is very important that you have people who are going to stretch the opposition in behind, and that’s something that I don’t think happened a great deal this afternoon.

Celtic 3-0 Ross County | Full-Time Reaction

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“Ajeti, for me, he can finish there’s no doubt. But I don’t see him putting together an accomplished all-round performance. I don’t think he links the game particularly well but he does come short. And also when he’s running in behind at times, I don’t think the timing of his runs are particularly great.”

Michael Stewart highlights importance of Kyogo Furuhashi to Celtic

It’s no surprise that Celtic put in a more sluggish display against Ross County. Yes, it took over an hour to break the Staggies down, but it was impressive to rack up a convincing 3-0 scoreline in the end.

Last season, you have to question whether we would’ve won that one. This term, Celtic have shown an ability to break the opposition down in more than one way. Whether it be early crosses, combination play, or shots from range, they have more than one weapon in the arsenal.

Of course, Stewart isn’t wrong about Furuhashi. It simply isn’t Ajeti’s game to replicate what the Japanese striker does. He’s more of a penalty box striker, and therefore he needs others to help him get some space in the opposition box.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

This can only happen when midfielders are advancing ahead of the centre-forward. We unfortunately didn’t see a lot of that against County. Too often the likes of David Turnbull and Tom Rogic were staying outside the penalty area and looking for shooting opportunities.

In the end, we found the breakthrough via a lucky deflection. However, the two goals we did get came from pinpoint cross-balls. Celtic managed to start mixing things up in the end.

But this is a golden opportunity for the Hoops to learn how to cope without Kyogo. He’ll become a target for rough treatment as the season goes on, meaning this may not be his last time on the sidelines. Celtic need to find a way to adapt, and in fairness, they managed to on Saturday.

In other news, Carl Starfelt outlines how Celtic will approach Real Betis clash