Matt O’Riley believes Celtic need to use Kyogo Furuhashi even more after the Japan striker scored his ninth goal of the season in the 6-0 thrashing of Aberdeen on Sunday.
The Hoops went into the game on the back of a 6-0 Champions League defeat by Atletico Madrid on Tuesday but they blew the Dons away starting with South Korean forward Yang Hyun-jun’s first goal for the league leaders in the ninth minute.
Furuhashi was more than grateful that O’Riley set him up for the second soon after to take his goal ratio for club and country so far this season to almost one in two games.
Winger Luis Palma scored a penalty in the 76th minute and the Hoops struck three times in 10 added minutes at the end of the game, with Celtic substitutes David Turnbull and Oh Hyeon-gyu, twice, notching as Brendan Rodgers’ men restored their eight-point lead over Rangers at the top of the table.
O’Riley said of “nice man” Furuhashi, who had to go off with a head knock in the second half: “Me and him have a really good relationship on the pitch and I think probably 70 percent of the assists I have for Celtic have been for him, and that shows how good he is to play with, and how easy is to play with him.
“His movement’s top class. I actually think we need to use his runs a little bit more because his movement’s so good.
“He deserves the ball to be given to him because he works hard to create the space for himself. We need to keep utilising him because he’s our best goalscorer and that would be helpful going forwards.”
O’Riley described the response to the mauling in Madrid which left them bottom of their Champions League table as “perfect”, and believes such a convincing domestic result had been on the cards.
He said: “I think a result like that was pending in the league, to be honest.
“We’ve put in enough good performances and it was time – with the utmost respect – that we gave someone a real doing.
“There were a lot of chances created and it could’ve been more. It was needed.
“I shanked one from about three yards, so was a questionable finish.
“But we were on it right from the start with our runs in behind. We let them know they were going to be in for a game right from the start and we maintained that level throughout.
“We tire teams out, the way we play. And I think when you are 3-0 down at Celtic Park and you have been running for 90 minutes and haven’t had much of the ball, naturally you are going to be tired.
“The spaces do open up and we had boys coming off the bench for the last half hour ready to fire. James (Forrest), and then Bull (David Turnbull) comes on and scores. I think having that strength in depth to come on and really push the fitness levels, it is hard for teams to live with.”