Rest of Asia Europe

Furuhashi Scores in Starting Debut as Ange Earns First Celtic Win

Kyogo Furuhashi scored in his starting debut as Ange Postecoglou managed to earn himself his first win as Glasgow Celtic head coach, with the Scottish giants triumphing 4-2 away at FK Jablonec of the Czech Republic in Thursday night’s Europa League third qualifying round action. The win gave Celtic a massive advantage coming into August 12th’s 2nd leg which will be held at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland.

Having lost two and drew one of his three previous competitive outings, Ange was under immense pressure as his Celtic side travel to the Strelnice Stadium in the Czech Republic.

Taking on last year’s Czech First League bronze medalists Jablonec at their own backyard, Ange started new goalkeeper Joe Hart, with Celtic having signed him from Tottenham Hotspur only 24 hours ago, while out-of-form Odsonne Edouard was dropped in favor of Furuhashi, with the Japan international making his way to Ange’s starting lineup for the first time after arriving from Vissel Kobe.

Liel Abada, another Celtic new signing, opened the scoring after 12 minutes, pouncing on the rebound after his initial effort was blocked.

Furuhashi then made it 2-0 in the 16th minute, latching onto Nir Bitton’s through ball before dinking it above the goalkeeper with his first touch.

Jablonec then pulled one back almost immediately, with Vaclav Pilar outsmarted both Bitton and Carl Starfelt before easily beating a static Hart with a powerful finish.

Pilar’s goal prompted Celtic to bombard Jan Hanus’ goal, with Callum McGregor, Abada, and Furuhashi testing the 33-year old Czech goalkeeper.

The Bhoys finally got their breakthrough and regained their 2-goal advantage in the 64th minute, after Hanus had parried an Abada effort onto the path of James Forrest, who rifled in Celtic’s third goal of the game.

Despite wielding the advantage throughout most of the game, Celtic’s defensive frailties were once again put underneath scrutiny as a Bitton own-goal enabled Jablonec to give themselves a lifeline in the 85th minute. However, Ryan Christie blasted home to make it 4-2 in the 90th minute, sealing the win for Celtic and giving the Scottish giants a huge advantage coming into the second leg.

While Ange will be rightfully pleased with the way his team assaulted the opposition as well as the brilliant performances from Abada and Furuhashi up top, the Australian still has to improve upon his defense which has failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their four competitive matches so far. The arrivals of Hart and Starfelt alone won’t be enough based on the performance of Celtic’s back-line at Jablonec and Ange will be hoping to draft in more defensive players before the end of the summer transfer market.