Celtic given hope for potentially vital squad boost in new year

By David Walton

November 29, 2021

Celtic have been given hope of potentially having Kyogo Furuhashi available to play in crucial January fixtures against Hearts and Dundee United respectively.

The Hoops are possibly going to have to do without Kyogo due to Japan having World Cup qualifiers against China and Saudi Arabia on January 27th and February 1st respectively. This would see him miss games against Hearts and Utd in the Premiership.

Realistically, Furuhashi would be back from international duty for the trip to Fir Park on February 5th. However, Japan have announced that due to the uncertainty surrounding the new Omicron Covid variant, they’ll be temporarily closing their borders to foreign arrivals.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

It’s unclear as to how long this could go on for. However, Japanese FA President Kozo Tashima has confirmed that they’ll look to use their domestic players if the government doesn’t allow foreign-based Japan stars to feature.

As quoted by the Daily Record, Tashima said: “We will comply with whatever the wishes of the government are for these World Cup matches. If we are not allowed to use our European-based players, then we will use the domestic players instead.

“It’s too early to confirm what restrictions will be in place by then at this stage.”

Celtic could be set for a welcome Kyogo boost, as Japan shuts its borders

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Celtic could be set for a welcome Kyogo boost, as Japan shuts its borders
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The world once again shutting down due to Covid variant as Celtic watch on

It’s interesting that Japan are already discussing the possibility of not being able to call on their European-based players. After all, it’s still some time away before they face China and Saudi Arabia respectively.

Not that footballing scenarios should in any way affect public health choices. In fact, we would all hope Japan finds itself capable of opening up long before those fixtures in the New Year. That will likely mean the new variant isn’t the concern many believe it to be.

Of course, should Japan continue to take precautions, it’s vital they don’t make special dispensation available for footballers. There are more important things in life to be basing decisions on. Sportsmen being able to travel for a football match shouldn’t be one of them.

Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Celtic will also be monitoring the issue regarding Tom Rogic’s potential January fixtures with Australia. They’ve also temporarily halted their re-opening to all foreign nationals until they find out more information on the Omicron variant.

There’s plenty of confusion reigning once more about the Covid situation around the globe. How that affects football over the course of the coming weeks and months remains to be seen.

Any selection hopes Celtic are given in the future are of course welcome. Hopefully, however, it doesn’t come due to negative public health news.

In other news, The number of tickets Celtic have for League Cup final; dwarfs Hibernian allocation