Ange Postecoglou hopes to welcome Hajime Moriyasu to Celtic

Whether you are an English shock jock or indeed the head coach of the Japan national team, any criticism of the standard of our football will immediately be followed by the wrath of thousands to descend upon you.

When it comes to Hajime Moriyasu’s recent criticism of Scottish football, it’s no wonder the Celtic support took it personally. The Japan manager’s arguments yet again to overlook Celtic stars Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate could eventually have ramifications for the club as they chart their future careers.

That’s perhaps why Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is so keen to welcome Moriyasu to Celtic Park as he embarks on his upcoming scouting tour of Europe so he can see for himself the likes of Kyogo and Hatate distinguish themselves through their own abilities. rather than the perceived mediocrity of the challenge before them.

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“Hajime came here to visit us before and we also had other Japan national team staff,” Postecoglou said.

“There were also visits from other coaches and I think Jürgen Klinsmann [now head coach of South Korea] is planning a trip.

“There are no problems. I would be happy to see him. I know Hajime very well from my time there and I would be happy to see him.

“We are a very welcoming club for everyone.”

There may be no issues with Moriyasu from Postecoglou’s side, but his decision to drop Kyogo from his World Cup squad and his continued omission from the Samurai Blue squad is what he admits is a bone of contention for his striker.

The bad news for the Scottish defence, against whom he has already scored 26 goals in all competitions this season, is that those snubs have lit an even bigger fire under him than before.

“Kyogo is always positive, but make no mistake – he’s a very ambitious and determined player,” Postecoglou said.

“You don’t play his position at this level if you don’t have that.

“Kyogo is disappointed, there’s no doubt about it. He wants to be part of the Japan national team and feels he can make a difference.

“At the same time, he uses that as motivation. He doesn’t let it get him down or let his mood change because of it.

“He wants to play for Celtic, score goals and excite our fans. He thinks if he does that it’s his best chance of getting back in there.

“Kyogo has a great outlook on life, he’s a nice guy and a gentle soul. He is always smiling and gets along with everyone.

“But don’t let that fool you. He has that determination and will do anything to make that happen.”

One man who gets along a little better with his national team’s manager is South Korea’s Oh Hyeon-gyu, who performed well for Klinsmann’s side in two substitutes against Colombia and Uruguay last week after his impressive start at Celtic.

Postecoglou welcomed the enthusiastic reports about his new striker and believed the experience will help the 21-year-old to develop further.

“The reports on Oh were that he was very good in his two games and really impressed from the bench,” he said.

“It’s great for his development.

“This is the first time he has had to make this trip from Scotland to South Korea and it’s not an easy one. I know myself that going back to Asia and coming back is exhausting for you.

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“Oh came back on Thursday and came back to Lennoxtown to blow the cobwebs off right away.

“But this was a great experience for him as he will be an important part of the South Korean team moving forward.

“On a personal level, managing the journey and everything that comes with it will be great for his growth.

“He’s back and looking radiant and it will be good to have him back with us.

“[Klinsmann] will be [good for him] But in general, international football is good for player development. It tests you in different ways and oh, playing against top defenders will only help him

“South Korea also has a new coaching structure and he will learn a lot from them. But international football is great for any young player as it exposes them to things other than club play.

“He will also become mentally stronger.”

Postecoglou has no qualms about the mentality of his Celtic team as they prepare for the final push towards a potential home Treble with a trip to Ross County tomorrow.

“We knew we had this mid-season from the end of the World Cup to the first international break,” he said.

“We really felt we could take our football to another level and put ourselves in a good position before going into the closing stages.

“That’s what we did. Our results were great, but so was our football and we scored a lot of goals.

“We wanted to get through this period and build a strong foundation. Now it’s about the final sprint.

“There are important games coming up in the league and we also have the cup semifinals.

“There’s a lot to look forward to and the players just want to end the season strong and see where it takes us.”

Hatate and Aaron Mooy will train today before a decision is made on their potential involvement in the game, while James Forrest, Liel Abada and Anthony Ralston are all injured.

Daizen Maeda, Greg Taylor and Cameron Carter-Vickers are fit despite missing international caps in their respective countries. Ange Postecoglou hopes to welcome Hajime Moriyasu to Celtic

Russell Falcon

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