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Dalglish backs Furuhashi to give Celtic the edge in Old Firm semi-final

Glasgow (AFP) – Kenny Dalglish has said the return of top scorer Kyogo Furuhashi will give Celtic an additional boost ahead of their Scottish Cup semi-final with arch Glasgow rivals Rangers.

Celtic head into this weekend’s Hampden Park clash buoyed by a recent 2-1 win at Rangers’ Ibrox ground that saw the Hoops go six points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Celtic and Scotland great Dalglish feels the return from injury of 16-goal Kyogo — who made his first appearance of 2022 as substitute in Saturday’s 7-0 win over St Johnstone — will provide the team with an extra edge.

“Even if Kyogo doesn’t start he’s a hell of a substitute to bring on,” said Dalglish, 71, who became a key figure in one of Liverpool’s most successful eras following his move to Anfield in 1977.

“If Celtic fall behind then he’s great man to bring on,” added Dalglish, speaking Monday at a promotional event for broadcasters Premier Sports.

“If Rangers see him stripping off and getting ready to come on for the last 20 minutes or half an hour, you’re not going to be too comfortable are you?

“Kyogo was brilliant at the beginning of the season and even in the first Old Firm game which Rangers won he was through three times on Allan McGregor who had to make big saves. His movement and pace is good.”

Dalglish was adamant that whatever the outcome of Sunday’s match, it would have no bearing on the title race, given Celtic are six points clear of second-placed reigning champions Rangers with five games to play.

“I don’t think it’ll affect what happens with the league campaign,” he said.

“That’s 100 percent in Celtic’s hands and there’s one Old Firm game to come (in the Premiership). 

“If they come through that then it’s almost done and dusted for them, isn’t it?…I would think there’s more pressure on Rangers to win it.”

Dalglish also paid tribute to the impact made by Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou, with the Australian arriving before the start of the current campaign following a season where the Parkhead club finished 25 points adrift of Rangers.

“At the beginning there was a bit of grumbling but you’ve got to be fair to the people who put him in place,” Dalglish said. “They’re the ones who stood by him and been patient.

“Ange had an idea of what he wanted and what market he wanted to buy in because he knew it best.”

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