Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has said that he won’t put a timescale on Kyogo Furuhashi’s return to action but that it will be “a number of weeks” before the forward is back.
The Japanese striker missed three games before Christmas with a hamstring injury and only played 15 minutes against St Johnstone on Boxing Day before being substituted.
He was absent from the squad when Celtic returned form the winter break with a win over Hibs and Postecoglou doesn’t expect him to play any part in the busy schedule over the next few weeks, that includes the derby against Rangers.
“We are still sort of working through that but suffice to say it’s not going to be a quick return,” the Celtic boss said. “I’m reluctant to put any time frame on it, just for the player himself, I think it’s unfair that I do that, but we are still looking at a number of weeks at the moment.
“Hopefully we will get some clarity, there are still some things they want to see if it settles down, but we are looking at a number of weeks at this point.”
Postecoglou will have to deal with the absence of another key player after Australia called up Tom Rogic for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers but the manager had no complaint about the creative midfielder missing important club fixtures.
“I’m not disappointed,” he said. “He’s selected for his national team because he’s a hell of a player. I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t selected.”
Celtic will learn soon if any other players will be called up for international duty, with new signings Daizen Maeda, Yosuke Ideguchi and Reo Hatate all available for Japan duty. Postecoglou said he would have the same attitude if they were called up, and said that their impressive debuts against Hibs may have caught the eye.
The manager does have a new signing to call upon after completing the signing of Matt O’Riley from MK Dons. He said that the player was fit and ready to contribute straight away and would be a good fit for his style of play.
“I’m very pleased to get him in,” Postecoglou said. “He’s a player that we’ve scouted for quite a while.
“I became aware of him when I joined the club in the summer and he was one of the ones we were looking at and it didn’t quite work out then.
“We followed his progress through the first half of this season with MK Dons and he’s had a really strong season.
“i just see some really good football attributes in him that’ll fit in well with what we’re doing here.
“He’s also an outstanding young man who really wants to get the most out of his career and that’ll fit really well culturally here.
“it was one we could do quickly, which was also really important to me, because it means he can come in and slot in straight away. I’m pleased to get him in.”