Opinion: The game Celtic really want Kyogo Furuhashi back for amid return talk

By David Walton

March 31, 2022

Yet again the chat regarding a potential return to Celtic action for Kyogo Furuhashi has cranked up once again today.

Frank McAvennie believes that Ange Postecoglou should gain some sort of psychological blow to Rangers on Sunday by naming the Japanese sensation on the bench [Daily Record]. This comes after he was spotted in training a couple of weeks ago doing some individual work.

Kyogo has also stated to Japanese media that he feels in “great condition” [Mainichi]. All in all, it looks as though he’s set for a return in the near future. Especially now that David Turnbull has been back available for a couple of weeks. Ange initially said that Kyogo will hopefully be back available after the international break [The Herald].

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But that doesn’t mean the former Vissel Kobe man will just be thrown in out of nowhere. The prospect of him starting, for example, feels like a non-starter.

Firstly, he’s only just back from a long-term injury. We saw what happened back in December when we refused to ease him back in after a knock.

And in addition to that, Giorgos Giakoumakis has fully earned his Glasgow derby spot with 11 goals already in 2022. If he was suddenly dropped for Kyogo it would be total robbery. This is his match, and his performance against Rangers back in February suggests he has the ability to make a big impact.

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Kyogo needs to be 100% ready for Hampden showdown with Rangers

As for Kyogo, there’s arguably a more important game than this in over a fortnight’s time. The Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden. All of a sudden that particular fixture appears to have gone under the radar.

After the trip to Ibrox on Sunday, Celtic will host St Johnstone in the Premiership. That would be the perfect opportunity to get Kyogo back into the swing of things. A routine fixture in which Celtic should nab 3 points.

Everyone is excited for Kyogo’s return. You can understand that. But rushing him straight into the side for Ibrox on Sunday is premature. It would be extremely surprising if Ange goes down that route considering he doesn’t really have to.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It makes better sense to allow the Japanese international to get more training and game-time against a lesser side under his belt before releasing him for a Glasgow derby. Especially considering we have both Giakoumakis and Daizen Maeda available if necessary.

This is supposed to be the luxury of having a big squad. So that players don’t need to be rushed back immediately. It’s not as if we’re struggling without Kyogo either. As welcome as his return obviously is, we’ve been in great form without him.

There’s no denying he’s our first-choice striker when everyone is fit and available. But giving Giakoumakis his Ibrox chance and keeping Kyogo wrapped up for Hampden looks like the more logical option.

In other news, SPFL coach delivers brilliant on-air defence of Celtic defender Carl Starfelt