The ridiculous Celtic myth being pushed after last night

By Euan Davidson

December 23, 2021

Are Celtic over-reliant on Kyogo Furuhashi?

After last night, it’d be easy – far too easy – to make some kind of case. Certainly, Celtic aren’t quite the same without the diminutive Japanese striker. The runs Kyogo makes can unlock defences, while his finishing, as shown against Hibernian, can be quick, clever and devastating.

For sure, we miss him. There’s not getting around that. But there’s some hyperbole doing the rounds that we can’t cope without him at all.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Take, for example, this tweet from the BBC’s Tom English. Apparently we’re “reliant on Kyogo to an unhealthy degree”. It’s a point that’s been debated all season, across fan and mainstream media. Is it based on any actual evidence, though?

When Kyogo has been out of the team of late, sure we’re less fun to watch. But last night excepted, we’ve managed to find ways to win games. Against Ross County, it took a last minute winner. Before that, when Motherwell came to Celtic Park, the Hoops created countless chances. 1-0 flattered the Steelmen.

Would we prefer to have Kyogo in the team? 100 times out 100, absolutely. However, this narrative is false. Of Celtic’s 39 league goals, Kyogo has scored 8 [BBC]. A massive contributor, certainly, but it’s as much about the players around him.

Jota, for example, is a big miss. He’s the kind of player than can create something from nothing, and his 5 league goals and 4 assists are extremely impressive. James Forrest’s injury issues have been problematic in the extreme; he’s agonisingly close to 100 goals and 100 assists for Celtic [Transfermarkt].

And then, there’s David Turnbull. He played in every competitive game for Celtic this season prior to last night. If anything, there’s maybe an over-reliance on him.

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Reducing Celtic team to Kyogo myth is nonsense

Teams will always need their star players to produce in big moments. That’s just the way of it.

Oftentimes this season, it’s been Kyogo providing those moments. But we’re letting a narrative develop from the League Cup final that isn’t healthy whatsoever.

Remember: none of our strikers are fit, currently. None of Kyogo, Ajeti or Giakoumakis. That’s not just unusual, it’s bizarre. If at least one of those guys was available, it’d make a significant difference. Albeit, to varying degrees.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But it’s just as much about the guys around the centre-forward, and we’re lacking in those areas too. Liel Abada is the only fit player from the new Celtic attacking trio that’s done so much damage this season. He’s being asked to play up front, and it’s not really a natural fit.

There are problems in this Celtic squad you look at, that are probably going to be amplified by last night’s disappointment. However, making sweeping statements about Kyogo isn’t justified or, indeed, accurate whatsoever.

Read more: 3 things permanent Celtic CEO Michael Nicholson needs to get right straight away