John Hartson believes Celtic boss is set to unleash Kyogo at Hampden

By David Walton

April 12, 2022

Celtic great John Hartson believes Ange Postecoglou is set to start Kyogo Furuhashi against Rangers on Sunday should Giorgos Giakoumakis miss out.

The Hoops face the Ibrox club in a mouth-watering Scottish Cup semi-final this weekend, and amongst the many talking points is who will start up top for Celtic come kickoff.

Giakoumakis had to come off against St Johnstone on Saturday holding his hamstring. Ange updated fans on that today but stated the club is still awaiting a firm diagnosis [Celtic TV]. Many, then, are wondering whether Kyogo could lead the line after an impressive return in the final 20 minutes of Saturday’s 7-0 hammering.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

And Hartson believes that could very well be the case. Speaking on the Go Radio Football Show tonight [12/04, 18:02], Hartson said: “I think at the weekend that the manager certainly wanted to give Kyogo the best part of 25-30 minutes. I think if Giakoumakis isn’t fit enough to play, then Kyogo starts. He’s been in training over the last 2 weeks and had some minutes under his belt.

“That’s the natural change for me. I think the wide men will stay the same. I don’t think Ange likes to chop and change too much. He’ll change it while the game is going ahead as he sees fit. But I don’t think he likes to change an awful lot. The back four will stay the same and I think the midfield will stay the same. The only one for me will be O’Riley or Hatate. And then it’ll be Maeda, Jota, and if Giakoumakis isn’t fit then I see Kyogo starting.

“Why wouldn’t he start him? I think he’s been back enough now. He’ll be dying to get back on the scoresheet and he’s such an enthusiastic and quality player. What an impact he made before he got injured.”

The hilarious early takes on Postecoglou & Celtic they’ll now be trying to bury

The hilarious early takes on Postecoglou & Celtic they’ll now be trying to bury
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Could Ange Postecoglou throw the Kyogo curveball?

The manager has already made his feelings known on this. He stated after the 7-0 win over St Johnstone that it was doubtful he would throw the Japanese striker in from the start [The Herald].

It would certainly be one brave decision from Ange to go against those comments. Then again, it could be the case that he’s just trying to keep everyone guessing. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time the Celtic boss has done something similar.

Ange also showed a real desire to throw Kyogo in whenever he could in the first half of the campaign. Granted, injury problems plagued Celtic at that stage. But even so, it was clear how much faith Ange had in his summer arrival.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Kyogo didn’t particularly look as if he was struggling at the end of the St Johnstone game. He got through his 20-minute spell easily enough and appeared as if he could’ve gone on for much longer.

It’s an option anyway, that’s for sure. The obvious one outside of that would be to simply start Daizen Maeda up top. He looked a real menace at the weekend when he took up Giakoumakis’ position, and his pace would cause the Rangers backline all sorts of problems.

All eyes on Ange then – he has a big decision to make. But Celtic fans will be confident regardless of what route he goes down.

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