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TCW's Ryan McGinlay makes the argument for Hyeon-gyu Oh to start the Scottish Cup final if Kyogo Furuhashi is injured.

Stepping into the shoes of Kyogo Furuhashi is always going to be a big ask for whoever takes his place in the Celtic team.

Giorgos Giakoumakis, who is now at Atlanta United, provided a more physical presence up front in the absence of the Japan international, but the Greek left a lot to be desired when build-up play and passing were concerned.

With Kyogo picking up a knock against Aberdeen as Ange Postecoglou's side lifted the Scottish Premiership trophy, this leaves the door open for Hyeon-gyu Oh to take his place ahead of the Scottish Cup final against Inverness Caledonian Thistle. It must be highlighted, though, that Postecoglou was quick to dispel rumours of any serious damage caused to Celtic’s star striker.

He said: "I don’t think it’s anything serious with Kyogo. I’ve spoken to the medical guys and we’ll see how it settles down.

"But at this stage, with it being a cup final - listen, he’s played in one on one leg, so unless both legs are out, I reckon there’s a chance he’ll play.”

Losing a player like Kyogo would be a blow for any team going into a cup final, but there are encouraging signs that his immediate deputy is well up to the task if he needs to be called upon.

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Since joining the club from Suwon Samsung Bluewings in January, Oh has largely featured from the bench, making 20 appearances in all competitions. During this time, he has managed seven goals.

Speaking about Oh when he signed, Postecoglou said: "He’s a young guy but very mature and wants to make an impact, as seen in the way he’s tackled his career so far.

"People know I love my strikers that work hard defensively, and he certainly does that, but he also adds a physical presence in the front third with his link-up and in the box.”

It was the recent rout of Aberdeen that was a breakout game for the striker. Following the knock to Kyogo after colliding with goalkeeper Kelle Roos, Oh made his way onto the pitch to take his place and matched his team-mate’s goal return for the day in the process. Scoring a bullet header and a rebound from Jota’s free-kick, Oh’s versatility was on full display at Celtic Park.

At 22 years of age, Oh has plenty of room for growth within his overall game. His raw attributes make him an exciting prospect for Postecoglou and his staff to nurture in the years ahead, with Celtic being an ideal proving ground for the striker to make his name in Europe.

Oh’s statistics from StatsBomb make for some encouraging reading. His xG average per 90 minutes is 0.74, which puts him in the 99th percentile for strikers in the Scottish top flight. Furthermore, he takes 13.43 touches in the box, again putting him in the top banding. The combination of elements in his game makes him a nuisance in the box for any opposing defender, as the striker demands the ball and carries it well.

Staying with his attacking metrics, Oh takes 4.48 shots per 90 minutes, which is impressive given his limited time spent on the pitch. This, coupled with the earlier data, indicates that he is a hard worker on the pitch and is willing to graft to get on the scoresheet. This is not to say that his counterpart Kyogo does not do the same but Oh’s taller frame and strength provide a different sort of attacking prowess to Kyogo’s more technical attributes.

As mentioned before, there are areas in which Oh needs to improve his game. This, first of all, comes in the shape of his pressing game, which is a must in Postecoglou’s team. Oh only completes 12.50 pressures per game, a number which has to be bettered if he is to make an impact in European competitions for the club.

The striker could also improve his ability when duelling with an opponent in the air. Despite two of his seven goals coming from headers, Oh, on average, only wins 1.54 aerial wins per game, a statistic which puts him in the 35th percentile for his position. Still, with his aerial prowess being on full display on more than one occasion, this number is certain to rise.

In order to improve, Oh must take better care of the ball when in possession. Despite his limited minutes, the striker turns the ball over 3.24 times per game, a number which is far too high for his position. By comparison, Kyogo this season has only committed 1.83 turnovers, which puts him in the 98th percentile for strikers. Oh’s team-mate is a perfect barometer for him to model his game around.

If called upon, there is no doubt that Oh can do a job for Celtic in the Scottish Cup final, especially against lower-league opposition like Inverness.

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It is clear that Oh is very much a long-term project for Celtic in the striking department. His raw attributes make him a very exciting talent for the club to nurture, with his age ensuring that there is plenty of room for development. By cashing in on a 28-year-old Giakoumakis and replacing him with a 22-year-old, the champions have freshened up their squad in both age and profile.

Time will tell just how good Oh will be, but the early signs show that he could be Celtic's perfect replacement for Kyogo at Hampden if required.

This piece is an extract from the latest Celtic Digest newsletter, which is emailed out every weekday evening with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from The Celtic Way team.

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