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St Mirren defender Joe Shaughnessy looking forward to Kyogo Furuhashi tussle

St Mirren v Heat of Midlothian – cinch Premiership – The SMiSA Stadium
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

St Mirren captain Joe Shaughnessy views the prospect of curtailing new Celtic star Kyogo Furuhashi as a test rather than a potential tribulation.

The all-action Japanese forward has become a favourite of the Hoops supporters since joining Ange Postecoglou’s side from Vissel Kobe in July.

Furuhashi scored his sixth goal in five games with his opener in the 2-0 Europa League play-off first leg win over AZ Alkmaar at Parkhead on Wednesday night, the rejuvenated home side’s fifth victory in a row.

Ahead of the trip to Celtic Park on Saturday, Saints defender Shaughnessy, 29, said: “He has come in and settled in right away, he hasn’t needed any kind of period of time to get used to the game, he looks good, his movement is good.

“It is just a case of doing what we can to stop him.

“We have played against good strikers before and it is just a case of doing our job and dealing with him the best we can.

“They are the type of players and strikers you really want to play against. You test yourself against them and see how you come out.

“It is something I will be looking forward to, whether it be him or (Odsonne) Edouard, they are two of the best strikers in Scotland at the minute and it is something you look forward to.

“You would rather be going out testing yourself each week.”

The Buddies beat Celtic 2-1 in their last trip to Parkhead on January 30, in a fixture played behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions.

Then Hoops boss Neil Lennon described St Mirren’s first victory in the east end of Glasgow since 1990 – which left Celtic 23 points behind eventual champions Rangers with two games in hand – as the lowest point of his managerial career and he eventually resigned the following month.

However, Shaughnessy noted the change in circumstances.

He said: “There have been a lot of changes there. I guess the new manager and the new style of play they are playing looks like it is coming together at the moment.

“It was hard then and it will be just as hard and the crowd will make a difference.

“We are under no illusions. They have come into a good bit of form at the minute, they are playing the way the manager wants them to play.

“But any time you go to Celtic Park it is always tough and I am sure it is going to be the exact same on Saturday.

“So we will have our work cut out but we are confident we can go there with a game plan and try to frustrate them and get the result.”