Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
When Kyogo Furuhashi signed for Celtic over the summer, few supporters will have known what to expect from the Japanese forward.
Slight in build and having never played outside of his home country, the fear with a signing of his ilk is that they struggle to adapt to the rigours of the Scottish game, and ultimately end up becoming something of a damp squib.
The Parkhead faithful need not have worried. Instead of fizzling out, the attacker has helped to instil a fresh sense of hope in a club who were so often found wanting last season.
So far Furuhashi has hit seven goals in his first eight games for the Hoops, and has made the kind of electric start that has already left him standing on the brink of cult status.
But how did the forward end up in Glasgow? How has his career panned out to date, and what convinced Ange Postecoglou that he was the right man to spearhead the Bhoys’ considerable rebuild this season?
We’ve gathered all the information you could ever wish to know on Celtic’s newest hero below...
Where was Kyogo Furuhashi born?
Furuhashi was born on January 20th 1995 in Ikoma, in the Nara Prefecture of Japan.
Nara is situated in the region of Kansai on Honshu, Japan’s largest and most populous island.
Who did Kyogo Furuhashi play for before Celtic?
After studying and playing at Chuo University in Tokyo, Furuhashi actually started his professional career in 2017 with FC Gifu, a third tier outfit based in the Gifu Prefecture.
During his time with the club, the forward scored 17 goals and assisted 18 more in 71 outings.
Eventually, his performances would earn him a move to Vissel Kobe in the Japanese top flight. It was there that Furuhashi would link with modern icons of the game like Andres Iniesta and Lukas Podolski.
It was also there that he first caught the eye of Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou, who was managing Kobe’s rivals Yokohama F Marinos.
Kyogo really began to hit his stride in front of goal during his time with Kobe, wracking up 49 strikes in 111 matches.
Prior to signing for Celtic this summer in a deal worth just under £5 million, the forward had bagged 15 goals in 2021 in the J League, and at the time of writing remains the division’s top scorer for the campaign.
How has he adapted to life at Celtic?
Like a proverbial duck to water, is the short answer.
Furuhashi already has seven goals in his first eight outings, including a hat-trick against Dundee earlier this month.
After initially hitting six in his six appearances, Furuhashi equalled the amount of goals that recent Parkhead heroes Henrik Larsson and Moussa Dembele scored in their first six matches combined.
The Japanese star has set a blistering pace in Glasgow, and his ability to play through the centre as well as out on the flank has shown that he is a multi-faceted and adaptable menace.
Who has Kyogo Furuhashi scored against for Celtic so far?
Furuhashi wasted little time in finding the back of the net for his new club.
After drawing a blank in an 11 minute cameo against Hearts on the opening night of the Scottish Premiership, the 26-year-old got off the mark in his first full start against FK Jablonec in the Europa League.
Next up was that hat-trick against Dundee, followed by a little bit of retribution in the form of a strike against Hearts in the League Cup.
Most recently, Kyogo hit the back of the net in both legs of his side’s Europa League qualification success against AZ Alkmaar, including a vital opener on Thursday evening.
Has Kyogo Furuhashi played for Japan?
The Celtic man is a fully-fledged Japan international, and has shown glimpses of his electric club form for his country too.
Furuhashi made his debut for Japan back in November 2019, featuring in a 4-1 defeat against Venezuela.
He would have to wait until March of this year to add to that first cap, and he finally opened his account with a brace against Mongolia in a World Cup qualifier later that month.
Kyogo then added to his tally with a strike against Tajikistan in June.
So far, he has three goals and two assists in six outings for his country.
Is Kyogo Furuhashi on Instagram and Twitter?
The 26-year-old is very active on social media.
Aside from the usual post-match updates and photos of him celebrating his many, many goals, Furuhashi has also been sharing the occasional glimpse of how he is settling into life in Glasgow.
The striker seems to be enjoying his time in the city, while some of his older posts from his time with Vissel Kobe show a down-to-earth player with a keen sense of humour and an eye for fashion.
There’s even the odd video of him casually kicking about with good mate and actual World Cup winner, Andres Iniesta. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t just a tad jealous.