John Hartson addresses Kyogo Celtic impact and makes class Henrik Larsson comparison

By David Walton

October 6, 2021

John Hartson last night compared Kyogo Furuhashi to Henrik Larsson in that Celtic supporters are now expecting him to score on a weekly basis.

Kyogo has been a sensation this season in his debut campaign in green-and-white. We’re barely into October and already he has eight goals in 11 appearances [Transfermarkt]. He’s fast becoming the most adored Celt currently at the club and in some time.

The influence he has on this Celtic team has been highlighted in recent months too after he picked up an ankle knock on international duty. It led the club into a tailspin of poor performances and results, with pressure immediately thrown onto Ange Postecoglou.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

However, after returning against Bayer Leverkusen and netting on Sunday at Aberdeen, there’s a renewed confidence with Kyogo back available. And Hartson would give him the ultimate comparison last night when speaking on the Go Radio Football Show:

“he Bayer Leverkusen game – the goalkeeper made two unbelievable saves. The one with his feet in the first half people are saying he should’ve gone over the keeper, but I think he did the right thing. And then early in the second half, he gets hold of the ball, faints to go one way and cuts inside, hits it with his left foot and the goalkeeper is outstretched.

“You think he could’ve got a couple of goals. He looks really sharp. Because he’s setting his standards so high, we’re expecting him to score every week. It’s like Henrik Larsson. We expect him to score in every single game now because he’s started so well. And then he gets his goal up at Aberdeen. I thought he was really good.

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“Ange brought Ajeti in and moved him over to the left and it seemed to work. Celtic then had more moving forward, and that’s where the goal came from as well even though it was Montgomery (who assisted the winner).”

Kyogo Furuhashi influence on Celtic is scarily huge

What we’ve found out over the last month is that Kyogo has a monumental impact on Celtic. Whilst that naturally leaves you to hail the player, it paints a more concerning picture that needs addressed.

The difference with Henrik Larsson is that when he was missing, there were plenty of goalscorers around him. Celtic weren’t as dependent on him as some would have you believe, with the likes of Hartson, Chris Sutton, Stiliyan Petrov, and Alan Thompson all still available to find the net.

Take Furuhashi out of the Celtic side and you’re left questioning where the game-changers are. Sure, Jota is coming into some form whilst Liel Abada has had his moments. But we’ve seen just what a Kyogo-less Celtic is like over the last month.

Photo by Jan Kruger – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

To sum up, we’re far too reliant on what the Japanese international brings to the table. We don’t have enough quality in reserve at the moment to cope with him being out.

That’s something Postecoglou will need to sort out. Celtic should never be dependent on one or two players to perform. We need to have a full squad of options capable of stepping in when players are absent and producing for the football club.

As great as Furuhashi has been, we can’t truly say we have the appropriate competition/replacements in reserve.

In other news, Liam Scales discloses the utter shock he felt after Celtic came in for him