Celtic and Rangers travel worries eased by international tournament change

Celtic’s Japanese international trio Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda will have their journey time cut if they are called up to the Samurai Blue squad for next month’s Kirin Cup.

The tournament has been moved from Japan to Germany – saving the Parkhead players a long-haul flight, and the switch could benefit some of their colleagues across the Glasgow city divide too.

Japan will meet USA and Ecuador in the competition – won by Scotland in 2006 – with the kick-off in Dusseldorf on September 23. The international fixture card falls within a busy schedule for the Old Firm with continental commitments plus SPFL and League Cup campaigns well underway by then.

However saving on air miles should reduce the impact of any potential call-ups, and boost the European ambitions and squad load of Ange Postecoglou and Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

As well as three potential call-ups for Hajime Moriyasu’s Japan, there is also the possibility of selections for Rangers’ pair James Sands and Malik Tillman, plus Cameron Carter-Vickers of Celtic, in Gregg Berhalter’s Team USA.

Sands has been warned over his game-time at Rangers if he wants to further his international ambitions ahead of the World Cup. However the defensive midfielder has started the season in Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s plans, playing more than six hours of Rangers’ six matches so far.

A call-up for Tillman could bring his third cap and also provide a homecoming for the German-born attacker.

The invitational round-robin will be the second competition of the year – Tunisia won the four-team tournament in June, after bettering Chile, Ghana and hosts Japan in Kobe and Osaka.

Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi could gain around 24-hours travel time by the change in venue if he is called into the Japan squad next month. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

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