Celtic pull up a seat at the top table of European football once again this week as Brendan Rodgers aims to take us beyond the group stages for the first time as Celtic manager.
He’s not the only one eager to make an impact at the top level however with talismanic striker Kyogo Furuhashi equally keen to demonstrate that his talents belong on the biggest stage that club football has to offer.
A goal at the weekend took the Japanese star’s tally to an impressive 58 goals in 89 appearances for the club, with his assist for Matt O’Riley meaning he’s also turned supplier 12 times for his team-mates.
70 goal contributions in 89 games? Not bad by anyone’s standards.
THE KYOGO QUESTION
With figures like that it’s inevitable that comparisons will be made with Henrik Larsson but with 242 goals across 7 seasons in the Hoops he has some way to go to reach the level of the Swedish superstar.
The biggest differential between the two is on the European front where Larsson remains the all-time top scorer in UEFA/Europa League history with an incredible 40 goals.
With a recently extended deal at Celtic Park that takes him through to 2027 however Kyogo has time on his hands, but with just 5 strikes Europa League strikes to date he has work to do if he’s to get close to the former Hoops hero.
A SHOT AT REDEMPTION
Despite impressive performances at Champions League level under Ange Postecoglou last season Celtic were unable to conjure up a win with just two draws against Shakhtar Donetsk to show for their efforts.
For Kyogo it was a frustrating time as he passed up some key opportunities to make his mark on the big stage against Real Madrid, Liepzig and Shakhtar.
Tuesday night at De Kuip will present him with the first chance to right some of those wrongs as Celtic go head to head with Feyenoord in the opening game of Group E.
And there’s no better time for him to finally announce his arrival on the biggest stage of all.
ARE WE ABOUT TO SEE PEAK KYOGO?
If Kyogo’s Celtic career were to end tomorrow he’d still be fondly remembered for his contributions to the club to date.
Contributions that include 6 goals against Rangers, 5 across 3 domestic cup finals, and a top scorer award for his 27 league goals in last season’s campaign.
But, as he now enters his third season at Celtic Park there’s a growing feeling that we’re about to see our No.8 enter his peak years – and that could be a frightening proposition for our opponents.
As the stats above show he’s the ultimate big game player and with the exception of last season’s Champions League campaign that’s proven to be the case during his time in Glasgow.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s clash the striker said,
“The bigger the stages, the more I get excited.
I really enjoy playing under that pressure in games like the finals, the derby matches and the Champions League.”
The stage is now set. Over to you Kyogo San.
Listen to the latest episode of The Celtic Exchange Weekly as we address The Kyogo Question, Assess Our Euro Targets & Discuss Dundee Debuts.
Available wherever you get your podcasts, by clicking the player below, or by listening at The Celtic Exchange website.