Rodgers hails best of Kyogo after double in win over Hearts

The Japanese striker is in form for the title run-in.

Brendan Rodgers hails best of Kyogo Furuhashi after double in win over Hearts SNS Group

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers hailed the movement of Kyogo Furuhashi after the striker hit his first double of the season in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Hearts.

The cinch Premiership leaders appear to be peaking at the right time and the Japan international looked to be at his best as he twice drifted in behind the Hearts defence to net in the opening quarter following assists from Reo Hatate and Matt O’Riley.

Rodgers said: “I thought he was much better in his movement. Really bright for his first goal. I thought we were really good set-piece wise. Big credit to Gavin Strachan and Greg Wallace, who look at that side of it closely.

“The first goal comes from the second phase but we sustained the pressure and he anticipates the ball in and scores a really good header.

“Then his second goal, what a finish. Sublime pass but what a finish, dropping out of the sky. It is a difficult one that so to control it the way he did was really good.”

Furuhashi has now scored 18 times for Celtic this season, moving him just over half of the 35-goal haul he managed last term.

Celtic have not had the same consistency of selection or performance from their wide players but the 29-year-old has also sometimes appeared frustrated when his runs in behind have not been spotted.

Rodgers stressed the message to feed the forward quickly had remained consistent.

“It’s never not been,” he said. “Kyogo is the type of player that makes the run and his timing is perfect, (so) that if you don’t make the pass you miss the moment.

“There’s also times he has made runs and it’s not on, if I’m being frank. But (on Saturday) everything was right, the timing, depth to his game, looking in behind, the pressing. Everything that makes him a really good player.

“He was tireless and fighting right to the end when he made the block. That’s what we always need.”

Hearts had several chances in the opening quarter before Celtic went two up and took control.

Head coach Steven Naismith was pleased with some of their forward play as he looks to build on a positive first season at the helm.

“If we want to be better and progress and be a team that really wants success you have to be able to come to these grounds and not sit in for 90 minutes and hope to get a goal,” he said.

“You need to have some form of attack and I thought we had that, especially in the first half.

“But, the flip side of it is, when you give good players half-chances they’ll take them. We gave them good chances and they were obviously going to take them.

“There was some naivety about some of our decisions where you have to recognise what time in the game it is and where you are on the pitch.

“When you lose that ball, our structure wasn’t great and it allowed Celtic to have momentum and it ended up being a corner or a shot on goal. I thought Zander (Clark) had some really good saves as well.

“So there’s that naivety but it’s our first year together and to create the chances we did is the positive.”

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