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Kyogo Furuhashi relishing chance to emulate compatriot at Celtic Park

Hearts of Midlothian v Celtic – cinch Premiership – Tynecastle Park
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Kyogo Furuhashi remembers watching Shunsuke Nakamura bring down Manchester United at Celtic Park and wants to create similar excitement with the Hoops fans.

Furuhashi became the latest Japan international to join Celtic when he completed a move from Vissel Kobe last month.

The 26-year-old follows in the footsteps of Nakamura, who scored 33 goals in four seasons with Celtic from 2005, including a wonderful free-kick winner against United in the Champions League.

With a full crowd potentially returning to Celtic Park for next week’s Europa League qualifier second leg against Jablonec, Furuhashi is relishing the prospect of sharing the joy with home supporters.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said of Nakamura: “I remember him playing for Celtic and the supporters must remember him very well. I remember the free-kick he scored against Manchester United.

“I’m looking forward very much to playing here in front of the supporters and also to share the excitement together.

“Celtic have a great history and a wonderful team. I feel very happy and honoured to be here.”

Furuhashi played with Andres Iniesta at Kobe and got the Barcelona great’s backing for the move before setting off for Scotland.

“(He said) if I did what I was doing I should be getting good results so he encouraged me to come here,” he said.

The attacking player made his debut off the bench against Hearts at Tynecastle on Saturday, hours after arriving in Scotland following a spell in quarantine in London.

John Souttar soon scored a late winner for Hearts to make it three games without victory for new manager Ange Postecoglou, whose Yokohama Marinos team Furuhashi came up against in recent seasons.

The forward knows he needs to focus on the here and now and not get ahead of himself after arriving in Europe, and he is convinced Postecoglou can lead Celtic to success.

“I don’t want to say too much about the future,” he said. “At the moment I am thinking about the current situation and concentrating on what I can do.

“It was very exciting and fun to make my debut. I have to concentrate on what I am doing and I hope to contribute to the team as much as I can.

“Celtic have great players and the manager is wonderful. If we can focus, the results will follow.

“It’s a very interesting style of football. I think I can fit in, that’s why I am here and I will try my best to contribute to the team as much as I can.”