Kyogo Furuhashi’s dazzling, hat-trick-banking, display on his home debut to underpin a 6-0 slaying of Dundee ought to have Ange Postecoglou feeling mighty good about himself then. The craft, goal appetite and application of the 26-year-old Japanese forward the Celtic manager has placed so much store in to frank his fizzing brand of football, does not appear misplaced.
Consider the portents. Three decades ago, Liam Brady was dragged down by the travails of Tony Cascarino. The brilliance of Henrik Larsson helped make Wim Jansen a one-season saviour, while Chris Sutton set the tone for the monumental Martin O’Neill era. As Shunsuke Nakamura did for Gordon Strachan. Later, Marc-Antoine Fortune typified the unreliability of the Parkhead team under Tony Mowbray that Neil Lennon resolved with his recruitment of Gary Hooper. More recently Scott Sinclair proved tailor made to ignite the Brendan Rodgers revolution.
Yet, though the 4.6million signing from Vissel Kobe – following up his goal in the 4-2 Europa League win in Jablonec – naturally was the man who had the 24,000 home crowd in raptures on the crowd return for a league game after 17 months, it was the set-up around him that served up his moments to shine. Which came against a Dundee side that quickly lost heart after patently coming with a game plan.
It was obliterated because the passing and movement of a Celtic wherein David Turnbull – in a deep, quarter-back role – and Ryan Christie and the wiles and willing to take their visitors apart. And in Furuhashi, they had a striker with the desire to make zipping runs and put his body on the line. Qualities that appear to have drained from the game of Odsonne Edouard as he has awaited a departure.
His replacement, effectively, inspired a vibrancy from those around him. Furuhashi might have had a seven minute hat-trick after a brilliant Turnbull pass that picked out Abada to cross for the Japanese attacker to clip in after 20 minutes gave way to a borrowing run and drilled cross from Christie that set him up to bundle in a second six minutes later, despite a clatter from keeper Adam Legzdins. He forced a save from the Dundee man within seconds, but he wouldn’t be denied a third, and when Christie slipped him through in 67 minutes, he deftly picked his spot for Celtic’s fourth.
Their third, just after the interval, was a sweeping Tom Rogic low drive. Set up by a Christie cut-back, he sold his marker after Tunrbull once more exhibited vision with a lofted pass. Anthony Ralston claimed the fifth with his second fine finish in two games – a shot on the turn in the box – in the closing minutes, before Edouard netted the sixth from the spot, after Jordan Marshall was red-carded for tugging Abada back in the box.
Celtic: Hart; Ralston, Starfelt, Welsh, Taylor (Montgomery 72); Turnbull, McGregor; Abada, Rogic (Forrest 65), Christie; Furuhashi (Edouard 68).
Dundee: Legzdins; Sweeney, McGhee, Ashcroft, Marshall, Ashcroft; Byrne, Adam (McGowan 60); McMullan, Elliot (Robertson 52), McGowan; Sheridan (Cummings 60).
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