Former Celtic man John Hughes bemoans Kyogo injury

By Euan Davidson

September 11, 2021

Former Celtic defender John Hughes has claimed the injury to Kyogo is a huge blow for the Bhoys over the next month.

Kyogo was injured on international duty against China, much to the disappointment of Celtic supporters. Scoring 7 in 9 since his arrival, the Japan international has been a smash hit with fans.

Ange Postecoglou confirmed the news that Kyogo would be out for 3-4 weeks. Albian Ajeti, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Liel Abada can all play centre-forward, with the first two Kyogo’s likely replacements.

Speaking on the BBC’s Scottish Football Podcast, Hughes was asked how big a blow losing Kyogo would be for Celtic.

Hughes said [BBC Scottish Football Podcast, 9.20]:

“Massive. Being like all managers when their top players go away on international duty, they’ll be sitting with their fingers crossed. [Kyogo] is a massive blow for Celtic.

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“It was being a defender and watching him very close… He never plays in front of you, he’s always on the shoulder. I was watching him, it’s like he’s got that double movement. If it doesn’t come the first time, he’ll go again.

“He’s a centre-forward, I know he played out on the wide area against Rangers, but he’s a centre-forward. He’ll be a massive miss, so we wish him a speedy recovery.”

John Hughes right to be concerned about Celtic star Kyogo and his injury, but other options remain

Without doubt, the Kyogo news represents a real disappointment for Celtic supporters. Given that the ex-Vissel Kobe striker had been in the thick of things in the J League, then moved to Celtic and became integral, his workload has been considerable.

You add international fixtures without a summer break, and injuries are likely to pop up.

And Hughes is right; the stress of being a club manager during international break has to be overwhelming at times. If one of your players is injured out of your remit, then it can be that bit harder to examine the effects right away.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

As a former international manager himself, you’re unlikely to find Postecoglou blasting anyone for what’s happened to our star striker. It’s also an opportunity for some other squad options to impress.

Albian Ajeti, for example, looks likely to step in to the team today. When he’s fit and ready, Giakouamkis could make an impact. Ideally, the return of Kyogo will be in the context of him joining an on-song attack.

It is a blow, though. There’s no getting away from that.

Read more: Former Celtic striker Mark Viduka says he left his heart at Parkhead