THERE is not very much, if anything at all, which Celtic striker Kyogo Furuhashi still has left to prove in Scottish football.

The Japanese striker has more than justified the substantial £4.6m fee which the Glasgow club paid Vissel Kobe to secure his services back in 2021 in the past couple of years.

He has been their leading marksman in the past two seasons and was named both PFA Scotland and SFWA Player of the Year last term as they completed a world record eighth domestic treble.

There are, though, a couple of glaring omissions on Furuhashi’s glittering curriculum vitae which continue to rankle him.

The Herald: Celtic striker Kyogo Furuhashi makes it  2-0 against Dundee

He has not scored a goal or won a game in the Champions League group stage.

The 28-year-old is determined to do both in the coming weeks and months and does not lack motivation heading into the opening Group E match against Feyenoord in the De Kuip here in Rotterdam tomorrow evening.

Furuhashi performed well for Ange Postecoglou against Real Madrid, RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk in Europe’s premier club competition in the 2022/23 campaign. However, he proved unable to net in any of their six games.

Celtic could only muster two draws against Shakhtar and finished bottom of their section and failed to progress to the Europa League knockout rounds as a consequence.

The man who is, courtesy of the glancing header he guided in during the second half of the 3-0 triumph over Dundee at home on Saturday, the top scorer in the cinch Premiership this season believes he has benefitted enormously from those outings and is better placed to find the target than before.

READ MORECeltic striker Kyogo Furuhashi provides update on shoulder issue

“Competing in the Champions League last season was a very good experience for us, individually and as a team,” he said. “Getting back there this year, we want to enjoy out football and hopefully this time we can get a few more results.

“We learned a lot from last season. When you are in the tough situations it’s about how many shots you can block, how many tackles you can make, how many crosses you can prevent. After that, it’s about how many chances we can convert when the opportunities arise. 

“It’s about scoring goals when the chances come. Last season we had the chances, but we didn’t convert them to goals. That is what we have to change for this season. We know we have the quality in the squad and we will have the backing of the supporters. It’s up to us to do our best to make the supporters happy.”

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has a raft of players who are missing through injury at the moment – Cameron Carter-Vickers, Maik Nawrocki, Stephen Welsh, Marco Tilio and Liel Abada are all sidelined - and will not be involved against Feyenoord.

Getting a result against the Dutch champions in their intimidating arena would be difficult with a full-strength side. They have scored no fewer than 17 goals in their last three Eredivisie matches. 

The Herald:

However, Furuhashi was buoyed by the 1-0 win which his side, courtesy of his ferocious first half volley, recorded against their city rivals at Ibrox before the international break and is quietly confident they can compete with Arne Slot’s team.

He will certainly not be intimidated by the hostile reception which the visitors will be given by Feyenoord’s notorious supporters. In fact, he is convinced that the abuse which will be aimed in their direction will bring out the very best in him.  

READ MORECeltic star Kyogo backed by Rodgers to complete final challenge

“We got the result in the Rangers game so that showed we can handle the atmosphere,” he said. “We got the win on Saturday as well, so we are in a good flow at the moment. Hopefully we can keep it going.

“The bigger the stages, the more I get excited. I really enjoy playing under that pressure in games like the finals, the derby matches and Champions League. In my position, everyone works hard to give me the service, so it is not just about the striker. But I do enjoy playing in these big game atmospheres.”

Another player who thrives under intense pressure is his countryman Reo Hatate and Furuhashi was delighted to see the midfielder return from a month on the sidelines with a hamstring strain during the Dundee game at the weekend.

If the combative, intelligent and hard-working footballer is able to start in the Champions League encounter with Feyenoord it will increase Celtic’s chances of getting a draw or a victory here. His team mate is confident he will be able to feature.

READ MOREBrendan Rodgers' men open up two point Premiership lead with win

“We have a lot of quality throughout our squad, but especially with Reo,” he said. “He is one of the players who can make the difference in matches. He’s a game changer. It’s obviously a great advantage for us to have him in the team. I think he is ready for Tuesday. The manager decides the starting line-up, but I have no doubt he will be ready.”

Furuhasi, who scored 34 goals in 50 games last season, signed a new four year contract extensions back in July amid speculation that Postecoglou would try to lure him to Spurs and is tied to Celtic until 2027.

It has been suggested that the Parkhead club are keen to tie down Hatate too and have opened talks about his long-term future. But his compatriot is not getting involved in negotiations. “Don’t ask me,” he said. “I don’t know.”

Furuhashi, who insisted the shoulder issues which forced him to leave the field in the first half of the Dundee game on Saturday will not prevent him from playing against Feyenoord, is only focused on the Champions League.

“The first target has to be to get the win on Tuesday,” he said. “That is all we are thinking about right now because that will make our supporters happy. After that we will see. It would be brilliant if we could progress through the group stages.”

The Herald: