Hysterical criticism of Celtic star has been perfectly handled by Ange Postecoglou

By Euan Davidson

December 9, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has had to deal with a number of strange things since becoming Celtic boss, the latest being hysterical rhetoric around Kyogo Furuhashi.

If you believed the popular narratives, Kyogo was a powder-puff striker who’s constantly looking for contact. That he’s a diver, a simulator and a scourge on Scottish football.

It’s nonsense, of course. Since coming to Scotland, Kyogo has been an absolute sensation. Inarguably one of the signings of the summer, if not number 1, he’s put multiple defences to the sword since his arrival. And you can tell from the accusations of rival supporters that they’re scared of the Japanese forward.

Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images

Fans were absolutely right to back the manager yesterday when he laughed off the reputation Kyogo has undeservingly earned. When he expounded on those comments last night, he essentially repeated himself, but he did add that the narrative over Kyogo is built on “ignorance” and “agendas” [Herald].

Because let’s face it; it is. Scottish defences just don’t know how to deal with him. Rather than admitting that, the “diver” rhetoric spares some blushes.

Who wouldn’t be scared of a striker with 14 goals in all competitions this season, after all [Transfermarkt]?

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Andrés Iniesta poses with another Celtic target, as ridiculous Hearts whining continues
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Ange Postecoglou continues to hit the mark over Kyogo and other Celtic narratives

There’s got to be a frustration of sorts with Ange Postecoglou. Time and again, he refuses to indulge the press. He could’ve got really angry with Kyogo’s critics, the line of questioning and the story that’s built around the striker.

Instead he was cutting and sarcastic. That’s harder to analyse, although it’s still good headline fodder.

The same was true of his reaction to the Calum Butcher debacle. Had Ange raged about the injustice of it all (and to be fair, his ban doesn’t help Celtic in the slightest), it would’ve made for good column fodder. Again, he didn’t, and suggested it’s not something he spends his time thinking about.

Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

Postecoglou has become something of a puzzle, in a really fun way. The Celtic boss is in sharp contrast to his predecessors. Brendan Rodgers could get emotional, Neil Lennon doubly so. Postecoglou isn’t necessarily stoic or difficult, but he is different.

The emotional response to this would’ve been something akin to Rafa Benitez’s “facts” tirade [Sky Sports]. Or even Neil Lennon’s robust defence of the Dubai trip.

Postecoglou, though, seems smarter than that. To treat this kind of chat with the sardonic scorn it warrants is a master-stroke. He knows people will have their agendas within Scottish football. He’ll let them get on with it.

Instead, he’ll focus on the job of winning matches for Celtic, with star striker Kyogo leading the way.

Read more: Report: Celtic Cup Final opponents plunged into chaos with Ross sacked a week before Hampden