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KYOGO SCARE: JOTA PRAISES STAND-IN GIAKOUMAKIS, ‘HE’S A BIG ASSET FOR CELTIC’

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FILIPE JOTA lamented the loss of Celtic talisman Kyogo Furuhashi after only two minutes of the 4-0 demolition derby against Rangers at Parkhead yesterday.

The prolific Japanese hitman, who has already fired in six goals including a hat-trick against Dundee United a week ago, was forced to come off following an awkward challenge from John Lundstram.

Kyogo now faces a race to be fir in time for the glamour Champions League opener against Real Madrid in the east end of Glasgow on Tuesday evening.

PAIN GAME…Kyogo Furuhashi holds his left shoulder before his rapid exit from Celtic’s 4-0 derby win.

Centre-back Carl Starfelt, who limped off with a knee injury in the 57th minute, is also a doubt for the encounter against Carlo Ancelotti’s Spanish All Stars.

Giorgos Giakoumakis slotted in with ease to the vacancy created by Kyogo’s withdrawl from the frontline while on-loan German defender Moritz Jenz was an impressive replacement for the Swedish international.

The enforced changes didn’t create even a stutter in the Hoops’ progress as Liel Abada thumped in a double, Filipe Jota netted another spectacular effort with a breathtaking solo run and finish while David Turnbull seized upon a loose clearance from keeper Jon McLaughlin to roll in the fourth with 12 minutes to play.

Immediately after the game, Ange Postecoglou responded to the double injury setback and said: “It was a shoulder injury for Kyogo and Carl had a niggle in his knee.

“It’s a bit of blow because Kyogo has been in brilliant form so far this season. We’ll assess them after this.”

PICK IT OUT…Filipe Jota lobs the ball over helpless Rangers keeper Jon McLaughlin.

Portuguese ace Jota praised the role of Giakoumakis who stepped up to take over the mantle of Kyogo against the Ibrox outfit.

He said: “It’s never good to lose a player like Kyogo. But as professionals, we need to adapt and we always have a lot of quality from the bench.

“So, the team just stays the same. Giorgos is someone who just delivers every time he’s on. He’s a big asset for Celtic.

“We are always ready. Everyone sticks to the same principles and philosophy that the coach wants us to play. It’s so good to have people to come on and keep the quality the same.”

Jota, who agreed a permanent £6.5million switch from Benfica in the summer, revealed he is thrilled to be part of Postecoglou’s parade of entertainers and continued: “We know these games are really special and we came with the mentality of doing well, sticking to our principles and just delivering.

“I think we did it.

THREE CHEERS…Moritz Jenz and Giorgos Giakouamakis congratulate David Turnbull after the fourth goal.

“It’s always a big result because it’s a win. But if it was 1-0 it could still be a good result. It always depends on the way we play and I think the way we played out there was very good.

“So, we need to keep at it now. I’ve said this quite a few times. I’m so grateful to be in a team that plays this kind of football. I’ve played like this all my youth and this is just the way I want to play football, with these principles.

“Attacking football, high tempo, high pressing, one v ones, crosses, assists, goals. That’s what we aim for.

“It’s just an unbelievable time to be alive right now. It depends what people think is dream football. For some people the dream is to win, even if you play badly. But if you can play well and win games? That is what we want.

HAIL, HAIL…Filipe Jota acknowledges the raprurous acclaim of the Celtic support after his mesmerising goal.

“We are in a good moment right now. But there are plenty of difficult matches to come so we need to remain humble and work hard. That’s what we have been doing since last season and we want to keep improving.”

Reflecting on his impudent goal against Gers, Jota, 23, speaking to the Sunday Mail, added: “When I received the ball I was not expecting to chip. Football is like very short seconds – you just need to decide in the moment.

“Once I saw the goalkeeper coming I knew I had to chip.

“I think a tap-in is just as satisfying as the other goals because it’s still a goal. As long as the ball goes into the net I’m happy with that.”

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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