KYOGO FURUHASHI’S energy and enthusiasm has certainly improved Celtic since he arrived, no matter where he has been asked to play. But Celtic are an immeasurably bigger threat, and a better team, when he is played through the middle. That much is now clear.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou opted to deploy Furuhashi on the left from the start at Ibrox, where he has operated before, with Odsonne Edouard up top.

After a decent performance from the French striker as a substitute in the midweek Europa League qualifier against AZ Alkmaar, the logic behind the decision was easy to understand. But the Rangers backline would no doubt have been relieved not to have had to deal with the perpetual movement of Furuhashi in contrast to the comparatively static Edouard.

That being said, Postecoglou’s call was almost vindicated in fine style early on as Furuhashi combined with Edouard for Celtic’s biggest opportunity of the afternoon. Instead, as the ball skewed horribly wide off the Frenchman’s heel after Furuhashi had laid it on a plate for him, his faith in Edouard looked misplaced.

It was a horrible miss, and the confidence seemed to visibly drain from Edouard in that instant.

Indeed, for the remaining time that the forward was on the pitch, he may as well not have been, such was the infrequency of his involvement. His movement simply wasn’t sharp enough to cause the Rangers defence much discomfort. Furuhashi too was largely being kept in check on the left by the impressive defending of Leon Balogun.

Something had to give, and the only surprise is that it took until Rangers had opened the scoring with a little over 20 minutes left for Postecoglou to make the change.

With Furuhashi finally pushed through the middle up front and with Tom Rogic in behind him, Celtic instantly looked a different attacking prospect, and within seconds he had the Rangers backline turned as he chased a pass in behind.

Robby McCrorie managed to get out quick and save from close quarters, but there would be two further opportunities for Furuhashi before the game was out, and both were created in similar style, with his clever movement off the shoulder finally giving the home defence a problem they were struggling to get to grips with.

Yes, his decision making let him down on both occasions, shooting when he should have squared for Ryan Christie to tap home in the first instance, and then attempting to square when he should have shot second time around. But while the execution let him down, he had already provided far more threat as a striker in the short time he was through the middle than Edouard had for 70 minutes.

When Furuhashi arrived at Celtic, his manager spoke of his versatility, and how adept he was at playing on the wing as well as up front. But while he has acquitted himself well when playing on the left, he has undoubtedly looked far more dangerous when playing centrally.

The decision to install Furuhashi as the main striker may well be taken out of Postecoglou’s hands of course, with interest in Edouard from Crystal Palace. Assuming they haven’t been put off of a move for the talented but frustrating forward’s lacklustre showing here.

That may be best for all parties, with a transfer to England sure to reinvigorate Edouard. With Celtic closing in on the signing of Georgios Giakoumakis, this may well be a debate to be revisited, but if Edouard’s departure does indeed force Celtic’s hand to play Furuhashi through the middle more regularly, they may well be the biggest beneficiaries.