The hour-long shooting sessions that led Kyogo to Celtic stardom

By David Walton

May 30, 2022

Celtic striker Kyogo Furuhashi has stated that his hour-long shooting sessions during his days with J2 side Gifu helped open the path to Parkhead stardom.

Kyogo has become a Hoops hero after racking up 20 goals in his debut season in Glasgow [Transfermarkt]. The most impressive aspect of his first season being that Furuhashi didn’t take any time to get used to Scotland or the footballing environment in Glasgow.

Indeed, the Japanese international has been the face of the Ange Postecoglou rebuild at Celtic. But only after making his name in the J League with Vissel Kobe. Indeed, it was his 49 goals with his former club that led directly to his Parkhead move.

Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

But it was his time with J2 club Gifu that Kyogo feels laid the foundations for his career. Not least the constant shooting practice he undertook to become the predatorial finisher he is now.

As quoted by Japanese outlet Tokyo Sports, Kyogo said: “felt a lot of pressure and wasn’t able to play as well as I wanted to. I was just practicing shooting at the end of practice. There were days when I practiced for 30 minutes or an hour, and I kept practicing until I was told to go home.

“Because I had that kind of shooting practice during that difficult period, I now subconsciously know perfectly where the goal is. Now I can shoot and it leads to goals. I am who I am now because of that period.”

Kyogo has shown his clinical edge in magnificent Celtic season

It’s clear that Kyogo cherishes his spell with Gifu and the way in which it formed and developed his game. Certainly, the main attribute Celtic fans have taken notice of is that clinical finishing ability.

However, there’s more to Kyogo’s game than simply finding the back of the net. Let’s not forget how fantastic and refreshing his movement has been in the final third. His ability to nip in behind defenders and beat offside traps has led to a fear of Kyogo around Scottish football.

That’s not to say that there aren’t elements of his game that could improve. It would be great to see Kyogo become even more efficient in front of goal. All strikers miss good opportunities and that won’t ever change, but he’ll be looking for an even stronger conversion rate next season.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

It’ll be interesting to see how Kyogo fares against Paraguay and Brazil in Japan’s upcoming friendly matches. Seeing him compete against the highest level of defenders is something Celtic supporters can’t wait to see with the UCL returning to Parkhead next season.

It does feel as though Kyogo has just been dipping his toes in the water at Celtic Park. There’s still so much more to come from him in the coming years, and at only 27, his best years remain ahead of him.

Fingers crossed he can make an impact in the upcoming international schedule with Japan. It’s the only thing missing from what’s been an epic season for him.

In other news, Why Celtic can easily sign 19-goal Ryan Mmaee despite Ferencvaros warning