Celtic boss' brilliant Kyogo explanation that went under the radar yesterday

By David Walton

April 4, 2022

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou yesterday explained why Kyogo Furuhashi missed Ibrox as he brilliantly stated he would be fit for St Johnstone next week.

It had been reported in the build-up that Kyogo was ready to go and could feature against Rangers if necessary. Widespread debate occurred on whether he would start at Ibrox instead of Giorgos Giakoumakis too.

However, come the announcement of the team lineups, Kyogo was nowhere to be seen. Celtic fans were left shocked to see that he didn’t even make the bench. That opened up a potential scare that the Japanese international may have been struck with another injury blow.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

But thankfully, Ange has told BBC Sportsound that he’ll be ready to go next week and that yesterday’s Ibrox absence was just precautionary:

“Yes he’ll be fine [for St Johnstone]. He was desperate to play today but when I look at our run-in we’ve got some massive games. He’s such an important player for us and I thought today we could handle it without him.

“To be fair he tried everything. Everywhere I turned he popped up in front of me to make sure I knew he was ready to go. I couldn’t walk around Lennoxtown without seeing him!

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“But we’ll keep him on ice. He’s ready to go, he’ll be fine and he’ll be involved next week.”

Kyogo ready to go whenever Celtic boss deems necessary

It always looked as though this was just a case of Ange resting him. However, given the magnitude of the game and the occasion, you thought that he may have made the bench just in case.

It says a lot about Ange’s trust in the rest of the squad that he didn’t feel Kyogo was needed. What a slap in the face to Rangers that is too. Look at how reliant they are on Alfredo Morelos for example. They must look at Celtic with sheer envy at how we operate minus our own number 1 striker.

Giakoumakis led the line at Ibrox and he was absolutely sensational. The big Greek centre-forward battered Connor Goldson and Leon Balogun once more and held the ball up brilliantly. Especially in the second half when we were looking to try and see the game out.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

It’s going to be an interesting battle between Kyogo and Giakoumakis for that number 1 spot. Whilst we would all acknowledge that Kyogo is still first-choice, it’s important not to let Giakoumakis go stale on the bench.

Ange has some big decisions to make in the coming weeks. It feels unlikely that Kyogo will go straight into the starting XI against St Johnstone. Most likely, he gets some minutes in the second 45 to try and prepare him for Rangers at Hampden the weekend after.

But it’s great to have him back, and what a time for him to be making his return.

In other news, Andy Robertson, Kris Ajer, and others line up to laud Greg Taylor for fantastic Celtic derby display