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Celtic vs Rangers: Kyogo Furuhashi is the difference between Old Firm rivals, says Kris Boyd

By on April 6, 2023 0 22 Views

Celtic vs Rangers: Kyogo Furuhashi is the difference between Old Firm rivals, says Kris Boyd

Celtic host Rangers on Saturday knowing a win will take them 12 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership; a Rangers win will close the gap to six points with seven games left; watch Celtic vs Rangers on Saturday, live on Sky Sports from 11.30am

Rangers should consider playing a false nine against Celtic on Saturday, and would be top of the Scottish Premiership if they had a striker like Kyogo Furuhashi, says Kris Boyd.Champions Celtic host Rangers at 12.30pm – live on Sky Sports – knowing a win over would take them 12 points clear at the league’s summit with just seven games left to play.

Rangers must claim a first league win at Celtic Park in five attempts if they are to retain realistic hopes of overhauling their rivals, but Boyd says the roles could well be reversed if Kyogo – the Premiership’s top scorer with 20 goals this season – was wearing blue rather than green and white.

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Instead, Beale is faced with a conundrum over which player to start up front, with Boyd explaining why he thinks a false nine could be the solution.

Boyd: Beale could consider false nine at Celtic ParkThe last time Rangers got a positive result at Celtic Park was that 1-1 draw last May, when Joe Aribo was the false nine.

Is that something that maybe comes into Michael Beale’s thoughts? There’s an argument for it because I don’t think Alfredo Morelos or Antonio Colak have had the impact the manager would have been wanting in this fixture.

Malik Tillman got two goals in the win over Dundee United at the weekend and Fashion Sakala didn’t start after coming back from international duty, so you’d expect him to come back in. Beale has options there for that role.
Celtic have blown Rangers away in midfield, but having watched Ange Postecoglou’s side on Sunday at Ross County, I didn’t think they were at their fluent best in that area. Postecoglou said he hoped Reo Hatate and Aaron Mooy will be fit, and that will be key because they have been two key performers for Celtic this season.

Rangers’ last 10 Premiership results at Celtic Park

    Celtic 4-0 Rangers – September 3 2022
    Celtic 1-1 Rangers – May 1 2022
    Celtic 3-0 Rangers – February 2 2022
    Celtic 1-1 Rangers – March 21 2021
    Celtic 0-2 Rangers – October 17 2020
    Celtic 1-2 Rangers – December 29 2019
    Celtic 2-1 Rangers – March 31 2019
    Celtic 1-0 Rangers – September 2 2018
    Celtic 5-0 Rangers – April 29 2018
    Celtic 0-0 Rangers – December 30 2017

I think Celtic, with their two centre-backs, have got belief in their pace when playing against Colak or Morelos. Celtic can squeeze right up and play in Rangers’ half – it becomes condensed – exactly how Celtic want it.With the pace that Ryan Kent and Sakala have got, plus the trickery of Todd Cantwell and Tillman, they can get into areas that can cause Celtic problems. The two full-backs play inverted and they’ll get high, so there could be spaces there too.With that in mind and looking at the last few games – with the striker not having the impact Beale would be wanting – it might be time to try something different and go for that false No 9.I think the league is over for Rangers but you’ve got a huge Scottish Cup semi-final coming up in a few weeks, so it might just be a time to try something ahead of that.Kyogo is the difference between the teams

Kyogo Furuhashi has 20 goals in 28 Scottish Premiership games this season

With there being no Rangers fans there, it’ll be fever pitch. Celtic will have 60,000 fans behind them.Rangers have to control themselves. I don’t think you can go chasing after Celtic because that’s exactly what they want. If you press high on them they will play around you.If Celtic get ahead early then we’ve seen it before – it can be a long afternoon. You want to keep it as close as you possibly can for long periods.But Rangers will approach it in the manner that they can go to Celtic Park and get a result. They’ve got good players.

The difference between the two teams at this moment in time is the main striker. Celtic have got one who’s a threat, while Rangers have a lack of movement at the top end, so Celtic can squeeze the game right up.For Connor Goldson and Ben Davies, it doesn’t matter if you’re doing really well against Kyogo – if you switch off for a second, he’s away. His pace and movement terrifies defenders, and they’ve got so many runners who will go beyond as well.It’s crucial that Rangers stick together and don’t start getting dragged all over the place, because Celtic will exploit the gaps that are left.Hard to argue Rangers wouldn’t be top with Kyogo

Would Rangers be leading the title race if they had Kyogo? It would be very hard to put an argument up against it because of the impact he’s had and the goals he’s scored.Teams retreat 10 or 15 yards because of his pace and movement, and that then allows space for the players behind him.Both teams have got fantastic players but there’s a reason why strikers are the most important players on the pitch, and the difference for me has been the goals Kyogo has been able to score.But it’s also what he brings to Celtic in terms of his work rate and closing down, getting after people and starting the press.His movement is second to none. Defenders don’t want to get too close because if he spins, he’s in, but if you drop off, he’ll be able to turn. He can see a pass as well – he’s a clever footballer.Morelos has done it before and there’s no doubt that, if he gets himself into the shape he was in before, he can still be a threat in this game. But only Beale will know what condition he’s in.Hatate, Mooy absence would be significant

Reo Hatate is a doubt ahead of the Old Firm clash this weekend

Would Hatate and Mooy being ruled out be a huge boost for Rangers? There’s no doubt about that.Callum McGregor plays every minute of every game, so the captain will play. Matt O’Riley started the season really well but I think he’s dropped off recently. Tomoki Iwata came in on Sunday for his first start, so you can’t be too critical, but he’s not Hatate or Mooy.There’s no doubt the three of Mooy, Hatate and McGregor are the ones that Postecoglou has gone to.Hatate is just a fantastic footballer. It doesn’t matter what league he’s playing in, he’ll continue to do that. Celtic will expect big bids for him in the summer because of the way he’s performed.Mooy has come in and shown he’s a quality international footballer. Celtic are really strong in that area and the one who keeps everything going is McGregor. We saw it with Scotland again last week – a fantastic footballer.That’s why that extra body in that area for Rangers – if they do play a false nine – dropping in to try to stop McGregor from dictating play could be crucial for Rangers.Kris Boyd was speaking at a coaching event funded by the Kris Boyd Charity which gave over 200 local kids from Kilmarnock the chance to get coaching, kit and lunch during the Easter school holidays.Coverage of Celtic vs Rangers begins from 11.30am on Sky Sports Football and Main Event, with kick-off at 12.30pm.You can also follow all the latest updates in our dedicated live blog on the Sky Sports website and app, with free in-game clips and free match highlights available across Sky Sports’ digital platforms.

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