Kyogo Furuhashi underlines his Celtic status with timely answer to Giorgos Giakoumakis protestations

Celtic supporters have worked themselves into a right lather over the inevitable-looking departure of Giorgos Giakoumakis.
Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi scores to make it 2-0 against St Mirren.  (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi scores to make it 2-0 against St Mirren.  (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi scores to make it 2-0 against St Mirren. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

It has all seemed over-wrought. As they were able to bathe in the brilliance of Kyogo Furuhashi that underpinned a 4-0 victory at home to St Mirren, maybe they would consider it was time to pull the plug on their protestations.

Giakoumakis was missing last night through soreness following his scoring cameo in the Viaplay Cup semi-final success over Kilmarnock on Saturday. That turn had prompted Celtic supporters to bemoan his unquestionable back-up status to the Japanese striker - believed to be the principal reason for his becoming unsettled - wasn’t astute squad management from Ange Postecoglou. The biggest grumblers even had gone so far as to argue that last years’ joint-top league scorer deserved equal status to the Australian’s statement signing from Vissel Kobe in the summer of 2021.

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Giakoumakis is a fine forward. But he isn’t capable of the scoring sorcery served up by a Furuhashi with a double to down Stephen Robinson’s men. A quicksilver artist whose record for the season now reads 18 goals in 28 games. And who overall has netted 38 times in only 61 appearances since his £4.7m capture. On a night when his countryman Yuki Kobayashi made an assured debut - as the shakiness was confined to his defensive partner Carl Starfelt in the injury-absence of Cameron Carter-Vickers - Furuhashi produced one of the finishes of the season to put the Scottish champions two goals ahead in the 35th minute.

A goal that was all about infinitesimal angles and gaps, it came from Jota - teasingly twinkled toed all evening - clipping the ball down the inside left channel. Furuhashi did the rest in peeling off Charles Dunne, and with one extradorindarily deft touch, arcing the ball over the head of keeper Trevor Carson. It was a finish that seemed to play with the nature of geometry and pitch geography.

His second wasn’t as outlandish, but it was just as clinical. Arriving shortly after the interval, the same combo were involved with Jota squaring a cross that seemed to see Furuhashi pop up as if an apparition to force in. The immediate aftermath gave us one of several VAR calls - naturally - with the initial flagging of the counter for offside overturned by the technology. The striker’s mastery of movement can certainly deceive the naked eye.

The encounter was one in which Celtic proved loose at times at the back - St Mirren certainly showing up well at times in undoubtedly having a go - and lethal in attack. The annoyance for Robinson would no doubt be the first goal arriving from a set-piece, a corner resulting in penalty-box pinball. Starfelt initially drew a stupendous reaction save from Carson before his excellence proved criminally in vain within seconds, Kobayashi smacking the post before Liel Abada rammed in the rebound.

The cherry-on-top fourth was another stonking strike, substitute David Turnbull curling in a precision low drive from fully 25 yards in the 86th minute. St Mirren arrived in the east end of Glasgow as the last team to beat Celtic, both home and away. As they were taken apart by an irrepressible forward line, their 2-0 success in Paisley four months ago, felt like it belonged to another decade. As for their 2-1 success at the, then empty, Parkhead stadium two years ago in the dog days of Neil Lennon’s reign. Well, that feels like it was in a different century.



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