How more World Cup Qualifiers could hamper tough Celtic run

By Euan Davidson

October 13, 2021

Celtic will be faced with some difficulties in the winter, with Asian countries in World Cup Qualifying games over January and February.

Yep, it’s international headaches again for Celtic.

Key players Kyogo Furuhashi and Tom Rogic, who squared off yesterday, will surely be called into action for Japan and Australia’s qualifiers in late January.

Rogic’s Australia face Vietnam on the 27th of January, then Oman on the 1st of February [Socceroos]. Japan, meanwhile, have a double-header against China and Saudi Arabia on the same dates [Sky Sports].

Not good. Celtic have their own tough fixtures around the same time. There’s a trip to Tynecastle on the 26th of January, followed by Dundee United three days later. The duo might be able to return to face Motherwell on the 5th of February, fitness permitting.

Ange Postecoglou, himself a former Australia manager, will have been well aware of this.

But it’s an annoyance for Celtic supporters, who will again miss Kyogo for matches due to international football. An injury sustained after a game against China ruled him out for a month.

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Asian countries’ World Cup Qualifiers an annoyance for Celtic supporters and Ange Postecoglou

Again, Postecoglou will have known about Asian World Cup Qualifiers. He’ll be hoping that the likes of David Turnbull and Giorgos Giakoumakis can hit top form in January, so that Kyogo and Rogic won’t be missed too much.

If it isn’t half annoying, though. Celtic tend to hit their stride after the turn of the year, after all. Look at 19-20 [Celtic FC], 18-19 [Celtic FC] and so on. The Bhoys always seem rejuvenated when there’s a new calendar out.

It’s not to say that missing Kyogo and Rogic will automatically make us that much worse, but Kyogo in particular does give the team an enormous lift.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

We’ve seen how life can be without him, and no Celtic supporter is in a rush to repeat it.

Are we too reliant on a core of stars? Very possibly. The hope is that by the time these World Cup Qualifiers come around, Celtic will be a better balanced attacking outfit, not depending on certain individuals quite so much.

Still though. Missing Kyogo and Rogic is going to represent a significant disappointment for the Celtic supporters and manager Ange Postecoglou.

Read more: Celtic have just gotten exactly what they wanted from the international break

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