Is Kyogo Furuhashi the best Celtic striker since Henrik Larsson?

In football, the greatest of teams have always been able to pull a rabbit out of the hat when they aren’t at their best. In years gone by, Celtic have had players who can grab a game by the scruff of the neck and pull the team out of the fire when their backs are against the wall. Whether it be a star midfielder like Shunsuke Nakamura to produce a moment of magic like he did at Rugby Park back in 2007 when he scored a stunning free-kick to win Celtic the league.

In most cases at Celtic it has been a talismanic forward who has produced a game-winning moment, with Kyogo Furuhashi being the most recent example. After passing up two massive opportunities against Rangers at the weekend, Furuhashi scored a fantastic winning goal on the stroke of half-time.

Kyogo’s exploits and love from the Celtic fan-base has led to comparisons with the King of Kings, Henrik Larsson. It has been a running theme in recent years with Celtic fans declaring each striker that walks through Parkhead’s gates and scores a few goals as being the best since Larsson. However, the Kyogo / Larsson comparisons may have some substance to them with the Japanese international’s recent contract extension meaning the 28-year-old will be sticking around at Parkhead whilst still in the prime of his footballing career.

With all things considered, at this stage in their respective Celtic careers, how justified are the Kyogo Furuhashi and Henrik Larsson comparisons and is Kyogo the best striker to grace the hoops since the Swede?

Big games

Kyogo joined Celtic when the club wasn’t in a very good place. He was one of the key players signed for Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic rebuild and played an instrumental part in getting Celtic back to the top of Scottish football.

He also played an instrumental part in giving Celtic the advantage in Ange’s first season. Kyogo stepped up in European Qualifiers to ensure Celtic secured Europa League group stage football and his extraordinary quickfire double against Hibs in the League Cup final let fans knows that Celtic had a real player on their hands but also established a trust in what Ange Postecoglou was trying to build at Parkhead.

Derby Performances

It took Kyogo a while to get going in derbies, but he never really had a chance to push on. In one of his earlier derby games last season he had to be subbed off with an injury just a minute into the game.

He scored his first derby goal at the start of this year, rescuing a point at Ibrox and he hasn’t looked back ever since. Another League Cup final double followed up by a double at Celtic Park showed supporters that Kyogo was most definitely a big game player.

European performances

One of the main criticisms labelled at Kyogo (there aren’t many) is that he hasn’t done it in Europe. If you were arguing the Champions League then perhaps you may be correct but much like most of the Celtic squad from last season, it was his first experience of the competition and his first experience of playing in highly competitive games against teams like Real Madrid.

He showed in the Europa League group stages that he can perform well at that level, but stepping up in the Champions League this season may be the final string to add to his bow to solidify himself as the best since Henrik Larsson.


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