"A nervous first few minutes in a Celtic jersey. After coming on with just over 10 minutes left he lost possession before giving up a free-kick and did not really get involved thereafter - 5 (out of 10)."

That was my summation of Kyogo Furuhashi's debut cameo against Hearts on July 31. How things have changed since then.

Seven goals in the eight games since his Tynecastle appearance mean the Japan international has emerged as the main man going forward for Celtic.

But it's not just his ability to find the net. The 26-year-old appears the perfect fit for Ange Postecoglou's relentless attacking style in general. Kyogo is constantly in motion, buzzing about in between lines and in the half-spaces, always in anticipation of the next pass when Celtic have the ball before pressing to win it back when they don't.

In many ways, Kyogo sets the tone for Celtic's play almost as much as Callum McGregor does. That is no exaggeration of the Japan forward's attacking influence - Postecgolou himself said he regretted his decision not to use him through the middle against Rangers in last month's Glasgow derby and the difference in Celtic's forward play after he did finally move him there was marked.

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It is difficult to replicate Kyogo's role. Putting the ball in the net goes a long way to filling the void but often, against better sides especially, the Hoops manager will want more than simply a poacher as the team seeks to unlock defences at both domestic and European level in the coming weeks.

And raw effort alone is not enough because even Kyogo's tireless movement has a purpose to it at all times; this particular chicken most definitely has its head.

Yet these are precisely the problems Celtic have been presented with after Kyogo picked up an injury on international duty and was ruled out for seven matches.

The first of those was against Ross County on Saturday, with the Japanese fan favourite also set to miss games against Real Betis, Livingston, Raith Rovers, Dundee United, Bayer Leverkusen and Aberdeen.

Here, The Celtic Way looks at the striking options available to replace Kyogo for the matches ahead. 

Direct replacement 1: Albian Ajeti

First up to have a crack at replacing Kyogo was Albian Ajeti. It has to be said, he did a decent job of it in terms of the top priority: scoring goals.

The Swiss striker bagged two of those - both with his head - as Celtic beat the Highlanders 3-0. He led the line well positionally by ensuring he was often high and central, which is reminiscent of Kyogo's average position maps from his central striking roles so far this term.

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Look beyond the goals, however, and Ajeti seemed somewhat isolated at times up until he scored, a frustrated figure. Perhaps the main difference between his game and Kyogo's is that the latter will actively seek to get more involved if the service from midfield and the wings is not as forthcoming as he would like.

After the game, Postecoglou's take on it was that Ajeti showed persistence in a different type of way to Kyogo. Rather than coming deeper or pressing harder like Kyogo might, Ajeti's persistence arrived in the form of continually taking up potential scoring positions for when the service did come.

"He (Ajeti) had to persevere," said the manager. "A couple of times he almost got on the end of crosses in the first half but the key is to always be there - if you're there all the time the balls will arrive. In the end he got his rewards."

Ajeti has not had too many chances to 'get his rewards' for Celtic yet. Since joining from West Ham in August 2020 he has made 37 appearances but started just 14 times. 

READ MORE: Celtic tactical and data match report against Ross County as fans get first glimpse of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Jota

Saturday's match was also only the second time Ajeti completed a full 90 minutes (the other was in a goalscoring display against Kilmarnock back in February) and marked the first time Postecoglou had given him longer than 17 minutes in a competitive game.

Indeed, while the manager trusted Ajeti to take the captaincy during his first pre-season match - albeit a match when he was still without many first-teamers - he did not deem him worthy of a run-out against Rangers at Ibrox when Celtic were chasing the game at 1-0 down. Ajeti was the only striker on the bench that day but, instead, defensive midfielder Ismaila Soro and youngster Adam Montgomery were thrown on alongside genuine game-changer Tom Rogic. 

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But with a brace on his rare start against County, there is every chance Ajeti is given the nod for Thursday's Europa League opener against Real Betis. And while the feeling is that he still has plenty to show the fans, the 24-year-old reckons it's simply a case of 'playing equals scoring' when it comes to him.

“I had nothing to prove because I have been training very well and working very hard every day," Ajeti said post-match. "I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. If I play and get starts in games then I will score."

Let's see where that confidence takes him in the next few games.

Direct replacement 2: Giorgos Giakoumakis

That Celtic managed to set Ajeti up with two headed goals from crosses bodes well for the other striker on the club's books: Giorgos Giakoumakis.

The deadline-day signing from Dutch side VVV-Venlo is an altogether more physical option than Celtic have had at their disposal in recent seasons. During our scout report on him from earlier this summer, we noted he has a penchant for one-touch finishes and finished last season as the Eredivisie top scorer with 26 goals from 30 games.

In that report, we cobbled together some tables to illustrate the type of gameplan Giakoumakis generally facilitates. It becomes clear when reproducing them (below) that, like Ajeti, the Greek's style is not necessarily a like-for-like with Kyogo either

Celtic Way: Table from Giakoumakis scouting report, stats up until 28th AugustTable from Giakoumakis scouting report, stats up until 28th August 

He is certainly happy to get involved in the defensive side of the game but it is not in the same merciless, tempo-setting, infectious way Kyogo does. Offensively, he poses his own problems with physicality and opportunistic finishes such as tap-ins as opposed to clever movement between the lines and causing chaos like the Japanese forward.

But the fact Giakoumakis carries a genuine aerial threat could easily see Postecoglou adapt his gameplan to help accommodate that when he plays. The manager already likes crosses, albeit favouring cutbacks for higher-quality chances than flighted balls in, but a look to his past suggests that doesn't need to be an exclusive thing if it doesn't suit his central striker.

Back when he was Australia manager, Postecoglou figured out an acceptable balance in the side's build-up play with Tim Cahill - not what you would term a flair player but certainly a renowned aerial presence at Premier League and international level - as his attacking focal point.

READ MORE: Celtic transfer window review, part one... Kyogo Furuhashi, Carl Starfelt and Liel Abada - Ross Goodwin

The pair won the 2015 Asia Cup together with Cahill thriving and each emerged with clear respect for the other, with Postecoglou declaring Cahill the greatest Australian footballer ever and Cahill reciprocating by saying the manager "changed the game in Australia" and would give "his heart and soul" to the Hoops.

Yet the question mark over Giakoumakis remains the fact his outstanding goalscoring season last term was the first example of such exploits so far in his career. 

While he scored at a rate of better than one goal every four shots and nearly half of the ones on target ended up in the back of the net, prior to last season Giakmoukis had only once previously scored in double figures across a campaign (back in 2016-17 when he struck 11 times for Greek side Platanias). 

Celtic Way: Table from Giakoumakis scouting report, stats up until 28th AugustTable from Giakoumakis scouting report, stats up until 28th August

The 26-year-old also netted just one goal in five against the Eredivisie big three of Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord. Granted, last season the latter side finished fifth as AZ Alkmaar (one goal in two) and Vitesse Arnhem (an impressive five in three) took up the other premier places while the fact he'll be playing for the dominant side in the division at Parkhead and not a relegation-threatened side should increase his likelihood of scoring, not diminish it.

Still, Giakoumakis will have to banish the one-season wonder question mark as quickly as possible and the best way to do that is to start playing and contributing. You have to feel that if Giakoumakis had signed a couple of weeks earlier or Kyogo's injury had come even a couple of weeks later it would have been the Greek handed his chance to lead the line and not Ajeti.

He may yet get that chance at some stage in the next six matches with alternatives thin on the ground. The hope will be Celtic's new number seven rises to that challenge in the same manner as he does for a header.

'Out-there' replacement: Liel Abada or James Forrest

With James Forrest coming back to fitness and Jota impressing on his debut, is it outwith the realms of possibility that Liel Abada or Forrest do a turn as the central striker?

Both move well off the ball and, while it's not the natural position for either of them, the experience of Forrest and the electric pace of Abada could be an option, even for short stints. 

The pair have played as centre forwards before, too. Abada for 907 minutes of his fledgling career (the equivalent of approximately 10 matches) and Forrest for 757 minutes (around eight matches, both according to WyScout records since 2015-16). 

You'd have to imagine that is a long shot due to Giakoumakis' recent acquisition and Ajeti's brace against County, given neither would likely take being replaced with a winger well.

Nonetheless, when discussing qualities to try to replicate the way Kyogo, a winger as well as a striker lest we forget, can lead the line and set the tone, there are worse ideas than co-opting a winger with a scoring touch into the position with the right instructions.

Ultimately it could come down to who is available and who is the best option for the opponent in front of them.

And whether it's Ajeti, Giakoumakis or one of the wingers what else is coming into increasingly sharp focus is that a few injuries or knocks still leaves Postecoglou with limited options off the bench in either case.

If it is to be one of the first two, the onus is truly on the players who occupy the wide areas and attacking midfielders such as David Turnbull and Tom Rogic to ensure their creative juices are flowing and the ball reaches areas where Ajeti and Giakoumakis can thrive.