Postecoglou praises resilient Celtic star Kyogo after opposition tactics

By Euan Davidson

August 28, 2021

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has praised Kyogo Furuhashi’s resilience, after weeks of hard fouls from opposition.

Ahead of the ever-physical Glasgow Derby, Postecoglou had plenty of kind words for his marquee signing. At the same time, he laid down his expectations of referees.

The former Australia and Yokohama F Marinos manager said that football fans – not just Celtic supporters – are keen to see what he can do. That means referees being vigilant against the crunching tackles from opposition defenders, trying in vain to stop the Japan international.

Postecoglou said [Scotsman]:

“Opposition are being fairly creative in how they want to stop him.

“He’s getting some physical attention, but he’s a resilient guy. Speaking to him after the game, he said he’d be fine, so we’ll see. It’s not about special treatment.

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“When a player comes through in football the opposition see as a threat, they will try various ways to stop him. It may not cut straight to the physical, but then it becomes part of it and you kind of hope the officials are aware of that.

“You don’t want to deny anyone, supporters or football lovers, the talents of his game and you see what Kyogo can deliver. If the game is played on an even term, he can excite people. But he’s handled it well and, without any special treatment, I hope the officials will deal with things on face value.”

Postecoglou realises defenders will be desperate to stop Celtic star Kyogo

There are a few different ways to interpret these comments. With a trip to Ibrox in mind, cynics could suggest this is an act of mind games to influence referees. Or, it’s putting spotlight on how Rangers deal with Kyogo in the upcoming derby.

Ultimately though, we’re going to take Postecoglou at face value over Celtic talisman Kyogo. The fact is, he’s being routinely battered by opposition defenders. On a few occasions against St Mirren and AZ Alkmaar, it was clear as day.

Photo by Patrick Goosen/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Whether there’s a debate to be had about how “star” players are treated is subjective, of course.

But it’s good to hear, yet again, a Celtic manager praising his players in public. Especially the resilient Kyogo, who’s faced battles on and off the pitch, because he’s a player opposition defenders and fans fear.

Another vintage display this weekend, on a bigger stage, and Kyogo will undoubtedly cement his status as a fan favourite. However, you can bet Gerrard will have ideas about how to stop him.

Ideas that, it seems, Postecoglou has pre-empted.

Read more: What Celtic manager told star signing that convinced him of move