No one is denying that Celtic's number eight has been a quality operator at leading the line for Celtic in recent times. 

As is such, incoming manager Brendan Rodgers at the time echoed a lot of the supporters’ positive thoughts back in July concerning Kyogo Furuhashi.

Despite being at the club for under a month, the returning head coach had already charmed the Japan international, as he managed to convince Kyogo to sign a new four-year deal with the club. Following this announcement, Rodgers said: "It is brilliant news for the club. Kyogo is an important player for us, so I am delighted he has signed a new contract.

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"Kyogo has thrived since he arrived in Scottish football and has shown his outstanding qualities. In two seasons, he has secured five domestic honours, scored over 50 club goals and become a treble winner. This takes a lot of hard work, dedication and sacrifice both on and off the pitch.”

“He is an exciting player who is hungry to bring more success to our club. He has a great mentality and is an unbelievable talent. I am looking forward to working with him and helping him and the wider team develop to help drive the club forward.”

A match made in heaven, many thought. Look at Rodgers’ track record of developing strikers, with the likes of Moussa Dembele, Odsonne Edouard and most famously Luis Suarez all becoming better players under the watchful eye of the Northern Irishman. Fast forward six months and that same buzz surrounding the player-manager duo of Rodgers and Kyogo has all but evaporated. It all boils down to statistics, as 11 goals in 34 games in all competitions is the reason why, as the striker is well on track to post a downgrade on the 34 goals he managed last season under previous manager Ange Postecoglou. Admittedly, he is only nine goals off of his first season's total of 20 conversions, though he has been much more available than back in his injury-ravaged first campaign.

Using StatsBomb data, graphs and radars, The Celtic Way takes a look at Kyogo's quiet performance when leading the line against Ross County, as well as his numbers in general for Celtic this campaign, which have not set the heather alight in any way...

A struggling striker...

Last weekend’s game against Ross County was yet more proof of a player struggling to get to grips with his now-familiar coach Rodgers. Indeed, Celtic won the game 1-0, thanks to a deflected strike from Alistair Johnston in the first minute of the game, which trickled into the back of the Staggies’ net. Despite missing two penalties and an open goal thanks to Luis Palma and Paulo Bernardo respectively, it was another poor showing, in a season full of ups and downs for the club in all competitions.

Even though Celtic managed to secure a sixth straight win in all competitions since that 2-0 defeat to Hearts in December, their main man up front had another quiet afternoon at Celtic Park. Earning a cumulative total of a dismal 0.03 in xG, Kyogo managed only one shot, which was easily saved by Ross County’s George Wickens in the opposition goal. 0.04 in xG, the shot decreased by a single digit to 0.03 in PSxG following the shot leaving the striker’s boot.

Kyogo’s shot map – displayed above – is devastatingly bare for a player as dangerous and talented as he is. In truth – and especially in a game at home against Ross County – this diagram should be densely populated with shots, regardless of whether they were accurate or not. The fact that there is only one to mention is more of a worry, as the chances are not coming in regular waves, something you could not accuse Kyogo of in past seasons gone by. One tame effort against the second-bottom side in the league is poor by the striker's lofty standards.

Apart from that one shot, Kyogo was largely anonymous in Saturday’s proceedings in Glasgow. Taking a look at the striker’s radar from the game, it makes for painful viewing if you are of a Celtic persuasion. Observe the amount of zero percentile placings Kyogo has in an attacking sense. His 0.04 xG for this match is one of the culprits, as is his shot total, which came out at 0.90. Furthermore, his 1.80 touches in the box per 90 and zero dribbles also score nothing in terms of percentile ranking. These are worrying statistics for a player as talented as he is, especially in front of goal.

If you want further proof of how ineffectual the striker is at present, then take a look at the amount of key passes he made in Saturday’s visit of Ross County to Celtic Park. A total of one can be found on this graph, as his pass to fellow attacker Liel Abada is the only registered pass that can be perceived as ‘key’ in proceedings. As much as Rodgers potentially wanted to convert Kyogo into a more complete forward, the truth is that the striker is struggling to make any sort of impact in games at present.

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Of all the starters for Celtic last Saturday, Kyogo had the fewest passes by some distance at just seven in total. Of those seven passes, four were in the final third of the pitch, with the accuracy of his total passes standing at 86 per cent. He did try to put in work at the defensive end, managing one interception and clearance each, as well as an aerial duel win. These statistics prove the theory that the striker is a hard worker, but also that he is not getting as involved as he should be concerning attacking areas.

As mentioned before, Kyogo has scored 11 goals in all competitions this season, which includes eight goals in the Scottish Premiership. He has managed 60 shots in total this campaign in the league, with the combined xG total of all opportunities standing at 9.77, showing he is underperforming in this metric, but only slightly. This points to a larger issue at play, as Kyogo should have much more in this metric than what he currently has amassed, both in xG and in actual goals scored.


A potent finisher in his first two seasons at the club, he has shown glimpses of his firepower in individual games such as his two goals in consecutive matches against Rangers, as well as strikes against both Atletico Madrid and Lazio in the Champions League. Kyogo still has this ability in his locker, but it is up to both him and his manager to rediscover that consistent goalscoring touch at the club.

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If both can form a player-manager goalscoring coalition, then it would go a long way in helping Celtic get back on track in domestic matters this season. Regardless, the club need their main man back in top form for the challenges ahead, as both remaining trophies look like they will be heavily contested this time around.