Celtic: Hartson tips Kyogo Furuhashi to start season opener over Giorgos Giakoumakis

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Former Celtic ace John Hartson believes that Kyogo Furuhashi will start over Giorgos Giakoumakis in the season opener with Aberdeen on Sunday.

Kyogo finished the season as the Hoops’ top goalscorer last term with 20 goals but during the Japanese striker’s injury Giakoumakis more than filled the void scoring 13 times in the league in just 11 starts.

He bagged a hat-trick twice while his teammate was on the sidelines and finished as the club’s second-highest scorer last term with a much better minute per goal ratio.

However, despite the Greek’s ability to step up when needed Hartson believes that he will be kept in reserve as a ‘wonderful option’ for Ange Postecoglou to turn to. 

Speaking on the GO Radio Football Show when asked to pick one of the two he said:

“I think Kyogo starts because of the impact that Kyogo’s had. Not saying Giakoumakis didn’t have a big impact last season when Kyogo was injured – I thought he stepped up brilliantly – but for me, I think Kyogo gets the nod and I think it’s a great option to come off the bench.

“Kyogo does a lot of work, he runs in behind, he gets fouled, he’ll run all day for you. He’ll come short and he’ll try and hold it up.

“He doesn’t mind the physical side of it for such a small type of player.

“I just think it’s a wonderful option to have when Kyogo’s getting a bit tired and then the following week or the week after, you can start Giakoumakis and keep Kyogo fresh.

“They’ve got two very good centre-forwards now.”

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It is certainly two great options for Postecoglou to have considering the duo scored 37 goals between them last season and both will be needed.

Both are aged 27 while Giakoumakis is slightly more experienced at Champions League level having played 48 minutes for AEK Athens during the group stage of the 2018/19 competition but considering that limited exposure to Europe’s elite competition for both it will be interesting to see who best adapts.

Taking European football into context, Ange will also need to rotate his side in order to prevent injury as Hartson mentioned and having both stars fit will be pivotal to how Celtic’s season pans out.

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