Connect with us


Kyogo Furuhashi is Enduring a Difficult Third Season with Celtic FC

After a superb 2022-23 campaign, Kyogo Furuhashi hasn't been as prolific this season. It's time to analyze that and Celtic FC's pursuit of a league title.

GLASGOW — At the conclusion of the 2022-23 Premiership season, Kyogo Furuhashi was the hottest property in Scottish football.

Celtic FC had just been crowned league champions for the second consecutive season and Furuhashi's goals were a big reason for the soccer club's success.

The Nara Prefecture native topped the Premiership goal scoring charts with 27 goals in 36 games and won the Scottish Players' Player of the Year and Scottish Football Writers' Association Player of the Year awards.

In short, it was a blockbuster of a season for the diminutive striker. Thus, the question was this: Would he be able to repeat his exploits in the 2023-24 campaign?

Heading into the new season, Furuhashi and his teammates had to contend with a big change. Ange Postecoglou, the manager who had brought Furuhashi to Glasgow, departed for the English Premier League's Tottenham Hotspur. His replacement was Brendan Rodgers, a former Celtic manager now returning for a second spell in Glasgow after managing in England.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers (Russell Cheyne/REUTERS)

Would the managerial change and different style of play affect Furuhashi's contribution to his team?

Thirty-two games into Celtic's season, it is clear that Furuhashi is not flourishing under Rodgers the way he did under Postecoglou.

Kyogo Furuhashi
Kyogo Furuhashi (left) aiming for a goal against Hearts on March 3 in Edinburgh. (KYODO)

Kyogo Furuhashi: Facts and Stats

Indeed, 32 games seems a fair place to start when comparing Furuhashi's goals ratio between last season and this.

After 32 matches last season, he was on 24 goals.

This campaign he has played 32 fixtures ― 26 starts and six coming off the bench ― but only scored 10 goals.

Considering his talents, and the fact he plays on a team that dominates the majority of its domestic matches, that is a paltry scoring ratio.

Kyogo Furuhashi
Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates a goal against Kilmarnock FC on February 17 in Glasgow. (KYODO)

There will be no repeat top goalscorer award for Furuhashi this season. He is currently languishing in eighth position on that particular chart. Lawrence Shankland of Hearts (20 goals) leads the way with six other players, including James Tavernier of Rangers (16 goals) and Aberdeen's Bojan Miovski (14 goals), ahead of Furuhashi.

With that said, several of Furuhashi's goals this season have been crucial. The Japanese forward started the campaign well, scoring four goals in his first five league outings, including the winning strike in a 1-0 victory over Rangers at Ibrox Stadium on September 3, 2023.

Kyogo Furuhashi
Kyogo Furuhashi (front) aims for goal in the first half of the match against Motherwell on February 23. (KYOD)

A Considerable Drop in Scoring Production

Over the next 16 matches, Furuhashi only found the net four times. Once again, though, one of these goals was a winner against Rangers ― a world-class curler from the edge of the penalty area in a 2-1 win at Celtic Park on December 30.

Since the turn of the year Furuhashi has only found the net twice. In Celtic's 11 league matches since that December win over Rangers, Furuhashi has only completed the full 90 minutes three times. 

Furthermore, he had to make do with starting on the bench in three of these fixtures. Loan signing Adam Idah was selected over Furuhashi by manager Rodgers in matches against Hibernian, Dundee and Hearts.

Furuhashi has started Celtic's three league fixtures from March 16 onwards but has been replaced by Idah around the 70-minute mark in all three matches.

With the league championship run about to begin, Celtic and Rangers are neck-and-neck for the title. At the time of this writing, Celtic currently holds a one point advantage over its long-time rival but Rangers have played one game less.

There's one more clash between the heavyweights to come ― at Celtic Park. Furuhashi could still sign off this season on a positive if he grabs a vital goal or two in what will likely be a league title-deciding contest.

It's just a shoe!

Chris Sutton's Newspaper Column Didn't Pull Any Punches

With such a drop off in goals, Furuhashi's performances and the factors affecting them have been a hot talking point in the Scottish media during the 2023-24 season.

Perhaps the hardest hitting opinion piece was penned by former Celtic striker and now full-time media member Chris Sutton.

Writing for tabloid newspaper The Daily Record, Sutton's article, published on February 10, included the phrase "Brendan Rodgers is killing Kyogo," in its headline.

With the readers' attention grabbed, Sutton's column examined the reasons behind Furuhashi's diminished goals return this season. In his opinion, the blame lies with the style of play and Furuhashi's current support players on the Celtic team.

He mentioned wide players Luis Palma and Nicolas Kuhn too often checking back inside when attacking opponents, therefore changing the angle of deliveries into the penalty area.

Sutton rightly points out that under Postecoglou, Celtic's wide players attack the goal line before cutting the ball back into the box. That is the type of service Furuhashi thrives on and currently he isn't receiving it.

By referencing Postecoglou's style, Sutton underlined his point on how Rodgers is failing Furuhashi.

In concluding his piece Sutton stated: "With three goals in his last 15 outings, he's (Furuhashi) not even a certain starter anymore. That's a staggering state of play and he's been the victim of lackluster work around him. Celtic have a proven gem who's on a different wavelength to most around him and it's a failure of the environment. In truth, he's currently too good for this Celtic team."

Former Celtic Boss Neil Lennon Shared His Thoughts

While not focusing on Furuhashi exclusively, Lennon's opinion on the overall style of play being served up by Celtic is useful in illustrating how that ultimately affects the chances created for the forward players.

Lennon, who managed Celtic for six seasons over two spells, also played 214 times for the club. His point centered around Celtic not passing the ball as quickly as they did in the last two seasons.

In November, he told the YouTube channel PLZ Soccer: "I always look at the goal attempts, especially when Celtic are playing at home. If it's 20 plus, then they are doing something right. Maybe the build-up play is not as quick as it was under Ange Postecoglou, but that's just Brendan's way."

Kyogo Furuhashi
Rangers' Connor Goldson in action as Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi shoots at goal on April 7. (Jason Cairnduff/ACTION IMAGES/via REUTERS)

Rangers-Celtic Thriller and Conclusion

On Sunday April 7, Celtic traveled across Glasgow to take on Rangers at Ibrox Stadium. The third encounter between the big guns of Scottish football this season was seen as possibly handing a strong advantage to whomever came out on top.

In the end there was no victor as an entertaining 3-3 draw was played out between the teams. Celtic enjoyed a strong first half where it took a 2-0 lead, but Rangers fought back after the break to secure a draw.

Furuhashi couldn't repeat his goal-scoring exploits against Rangers from earlier in the season in this encounter. In truth the forward was on the periphery of the match and was well marshaled by Rangers defender John Souttar.

After 69 minutes, Furuhashi was replaced by Idah. Idah went on to score late in the match to give Rodgers some selection thoughts going into Celtic's final six matches of the season.

With Sunday's match finishing level, the destination of the 2023-24 Scottish Premiership title is no clearer.

Despite a poor campaign by his standards, Furuhashi could still write a closing chapter that would see his contribution this season remembered fondly by Celtic fans.

If that is to happen, some subtle tactical changes may be required from Rodgers in order to present the goal-scoring chances Furuhashi needs.

And if that can be achieved, Kyogo Furuhashi and Celtic FC can prosper in the final weeks of the season.


Author: Colin Morrison

Morrison is a freelance sportswriter. Find his stories on SportsLook. Writing since 2016, his byline appears on boxing websites and His main areas of interest are boxing, soccer, golf and rugby union. Morrison is from Scotland and can be found on X (formerly Twitter) @Morrie1981.


Receive regular sports updates and news directly in your inbox

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Advertisement It's just a shoe!

Sign-Up to Our Newsletter


Receive regular sports updates and news directly in your inbox

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Advertisement logo

More in Soccer