'You can just tell he’s got a football brain' - the Celtic new boy impressing old-timers

There was a much-shared video clip chronicling the aftermath of Kyogo Furuhashi breathtaking, hat-trick earning first outing at his new footballing home of Celtic Park.

Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi has a "real football brain", according to club captain Callum McGregor. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

It showed the Japanese striker embracing club captain Callum McGregor and various team-mates as they made their way round the stadium to acknowledge the fans’ backing in Sunday’s 6-0 demolition of Dundee.

It was an example of actions speaking louder than words – which McGregor says has been how it has been with Furuhashi since he pitched up at the club a fortnight ago following his £4.6million signing from Vissel Kobe. The 26-year-old is currently working hard on improving his English with impressive results, the Scotland international says. However, it is in proving his a polyglot on the pitch that McGregor credits with his admirable assimilation, which he will hope to embed further on the club’s Europa League third qualifying round second leg at home to Jablonec tonight, into which Ange Postecoglou’s men take a 4-2 first leg advantage.

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“Football has its own language in that sense, and with people who have a football brain, you can see it very, very quickly,” McGregor said. “He’s certainly someone who has a football brain. He knows when to run, he knows when to come short and receive the ball, his touch, everything about him. You can just tell he’s got a football brain. When you’re on the pitch, it’s that sort of telepathic understanding that makes football.

“As much as there might be a language barrier or different cultures, we can try and help as much as we possibly can off the pitch, but it’s huge testament to him on the pitch how clever a footballer he is. He’s hit the ground running, so long may that continue. He’s been absolutely first class. When you think about where he was in the world two weeks ago to where his now, it’s huge testament to him as a person, as a character, and his ability. He’s got his interpreter with him as well in case the language barrier becomes a problem at any time, but he’s been great. What I will say is that his English is improving very, very quickly as well, so he’s obviously working really hard on that too, which is another testament to him as a person.”

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