Andy Payton reckons the goals could start to flow for Celtic striker Kyogo Furuhashi in the Champions League after he finally broke his group-stage duck against Lazio.

The former Celtic attacker knows a lethal marksman when he sees one. The Japanese talisman has plundered 59 career goals in 94 appearances for the men in green and white so far.

Payton was no slouch in the goals department himself. He joined Celtic from Middlesbrough in a swap deal involving Chris Morris switching to the Teessiders.

Although Payton only played 36 games for Celtic he still managed to bag a creditable 20 goals in his spell in Glasgow's east end including the winner in a 2-1 victory against Rangers in a league match at Parkhead in March 1993.

He was the club's top goalscorer in season 1992/93 with 15 goals. Payton admits that he is a fully-fledged member of the Kyogo appreciation club and that he has enjoyed watching the Japan international take Celtic back to the top of the domestic tree after hitting the ground running under former boss Ange Postecoglou.

Kyogo has five goals to his name this season as the defending champions have eked out a seven-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership table.

He may have cost £4.6 million from Vissel Kobe back in July 2021 but Payton insists that he has been worth every penny due to his goals return.

The 28-year-old was on the scoresheet again this time for Japan during Tuesday's 2-0 friendly win against Tunisia as the Samurai Blue followed up their recent 4-1 win against Canada with another positive result in which Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate also started for Hajime Moriyasu's men.

READ MORE: Watch as Celtic striker Kyogo scores for Japan against Tunisia

Kyogo opened the scoring just before the interval when he made a trademark darting run in behind the defence before calmly slotting past the opposition goalkeeper as he made it five goals in 21 games for his country.

Payton said: "Kyogo is a quality striker for Celtic. There is no disputing that. His movement is incredible. He is a great player and such a joy to watch at times.

"I was delighted for Kyogo when he got off the mark with his first goal in the Champions League group stage against Lazio even though the result didn't go for Celtic.

"That's the level where Kyogo wants to be scoring goals and hopefully he can relax a bit on that now and then the goals in the Champions League may start to flow for him.

"The fact that Celtic have re-signed a player like that tells you everything. This guy could go on and play for anybody really. So fair play to Kyogo for signing a new deal and committing his long-term future to Celtic.

"That is the kind of quality that Celtic are bringing into the club and what the manager Brendan Rodgers has at his disposal at this minute and long may it continue.

"It's great to see Celtic back on top of the Scottish league at this moment and Kyogo has played a massive part in the club's recent trophy success.

"I know Brendan Rodgers has tweaked Kyogo's role a bit this season but he is still as effective wherever he plays on the field.

"My role was never tweaked when I was at Celtic as I just played as an out-and-out striker anyway!"

Celtic Way:

READ MORE: Why Kyogo will be the next Celtic striker to be crowned king

The 56-year-old was back in Scotland at the weekend as he was in the Celtic Legends side that played St against St Roch's at James McGrory Park on Sunday to celebrate the junior outfit's centenary.

Payton bumped into a few familiar faces in the shape of former Celtic teammates Frank McAvennie, Joe Miller and Rudi Vata.

He still retains his love and affection for Celtic despite turning out for the club in the barren years of the 1990s when Rangers were were the dominant force in Scottish football.

Payton said: "When you look back to my day we had Paul McStay, John Collins, Frank McAvennie and Charlie Nicholas who were all great players for Celtic. I had a great time at Celtic and I played alongside unbelievable players.

"It's such a great club, isn't it? I feel privileged and honoured to say that I have played for such a wonderful club like Celtic in my football career.

"I am extremely proud of what I did for Celtic, I scored 20 goals in 36 games including the winner against Rangers. From a personal point of view I was happy with my contribution.

"I will always be able to say that I played for Celtic, finished top scorer, scored the winner against Rangers and made a bit of an impact. I think the Celtic fans still remember me because I loved playing for the club and my goalscoring record was just short of a goal in every two games.

"You've got to be happy with those kind of numbers playing for a club like Celtic."