Kyogo Old Firm boost amid Japanese manager’s ‘difficult’ decision

Celtic have been given a potential Old Firm boost, with the Japanese manager hinting he won’t call up Kyogo Furuhashi for the upcoming World Qualifiers.

Japan are due to face China on January 27 and Saudi Arabia on February 1, 24 hours before Celtic take on City Rangers in a match that could be vital in the Premiership title race.

But manager Moriyasu Hajikazu has told the local press that the Celtic striker will not be available for selection due to a hamstring injury picked up before the winter break.

Hajikazu said he would have a “difficult” job putting together a squad with “several players unavailable due to injury” for the vital World Cup qualifiers which could go a long way in deciding whether Japan will be in Qatar in the end of the year, before naming Kyogo, who has 16 goals for the Hoops since signing in the summer, Sampdoria defender Maya Yoshida and Sei Muroya, who plays for German side Hannover, as three players whose they will be deprived.

This means that if he is fit to play, the 26-year-old will be available for Old Firm’s midweek clash at Celtic Park as well as games against Hearts and Dundee United.

New signings Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda could be potential replacements for the missing Japanese stars, but they are not believed to be in Hajikazu’s call-up plans at this time.

Ange Potecoglou could also be without compatriot Tom Rogic, with Australia also in the World Cup qualifiers in the same period.

Meanwhile, the Celtic manager will assess Kyogo and winger Jota ahead of their game against Hibernian on Monday night.

The Portuguese striker has returned to training after recovering from a hamstring problem.

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