How Celtic attack could look without key man Kyogo
Celtic were creating chances en masse, with several different scorers, sure. Kyogo, though, established himself as the main man. With a goal return of 7 in 9 games, any fears about replacing Edouard seemed to vanish.
However, international break brings the chance for injuries. So it proved, when Kyogo pulled up against China.
There’s now a significant opportunity for some new Bhoys and familiar faces to make their mark, however.
The most obvious is Giorgos Giakoumakis. Provided the plan was, and is, to play Kyogo up front, the former VVV-Venlo seems the most likely candidate to replace the Japanese international. As a main striker, the Greek forward scored a ridiculous 26 goals in 30 games for a relegated team [Transfermarkt].
Given the likelihood of shooting opportunities against Ross County, Giakouamkis has the environment to make a mark on his debut, and build confidence for a vital run of games.
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Albian Ajeti also offers some goal-scoring ability. After a difficult first season, Ajeti impressed over the summer. A brief cameo role against St Mirren showed the impact he can make, brushing off defenders and causing problems in the opposition box.
If he can recapture some of his early form at Celtic, we could make it through Kyogo’s injury relatively unscathed, in terms of results.
Celtic have options despite Kyogo missing
Then of course there’s Jota, brought in from Benfica. Provided Postecoglou fancied playing Kyogo on the left of a three, Jota would be the clear replacement here. Unless, that is, James Forrest was fit and available to play on the left flank.
It’s not his natural position, but Forrest has already shown this season that he’s capable of causing problems from either flank. He’s closing in on 100 goals and 100 assists for Celtic for a reason, after all.
Then of course, there’s Liel Abada. Capable of playing up front as a striker, he can provide a different kind of option.
Last season, with Maccabi Petah Tikvah, Abada scored 4 in 7 up top [Transfermarkt]. In games where Celtic aren’t dominating possession, Abada’s physicality and directness may mean he’s facilitated as a false 9.
That could work in Europa League competition. The pace of Abada, especially on the break, could be devastating through the middle against teams like Bayer Leverkusen or Real Betis. With Jota to his left and Forrest to his right, few defences are going to be able to meet that kind of pace.
So there are certainly options, if reports are correct on Kyogo. Yes, fans will miss him, but it’s a big opportunity for the players around him to make an impact. As big a miss as he’ll be, Celtic were scoring through a multitude of players before last night’s shock news.
It’s time for the other forwards to make their mark.