IF Feyenoord assistant manager John de Wolf had still been playing today then Celtic striker Kyogo Furuhashi might have been in for a rather interesting evening in the De Kuip tomorrow night.

De Wolf – or The Beast of Rotterdam as he was known to the Dutch giants’ adoring supporters when he was a feared member of their defence back in the 1990s – would have had no qualms whatsoever about deliberately targeting Furuhashi because of the recurring shoulder issue he has been wrestling with.

In fact, he might even, as manager Arne Slot suggested this afternoon with a mischievous smile at the pre-match press conference ahead of the Champions League game against the Scottish champions, have banjoed the centre-forward before kick-off.

READ MORECeltic striker Kyogo Furuhashi outlines his Champions League goals

“John would have punched him in the tunnel when he was a player!” said Slot. “At least that’s what he tells me all the time about how it went when he played!”

The Feyenoord head coach, though, stressed that his charges will not resort to any underhand tactics in an attempt to snuff out the threat which is posed up front by an individual he is a huge admirer of and who he has identified as the visitors’ danger man.

“I just read that Brendan Rodgers said he was able to play, which is quite unfortunate,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind if he didn’t start because he is a very good player for Celtic.

Glasgow Times: Celtic striker Kyogo Furuhashi makes it  2-0 against Dundee

“I liked him a lot as a player when he played in Japan. I think he was a right winger back then. He is one of their best players so we always have to be aware of his threat.

“But I don’t think we are a team that is going to do something which will hurt him so he has to go out. I don’t think this is realistic anymore in current football because of VAR. I don’t think we are going to use that tactic.

“What we will try to do is defend him in the best way that we can. We know how good he is in transition moments and we know how good he is when Celtic have the ball. We will inform our defenders about his qualities and not about his injury.”

Feyenoord may not have been involved in the Champions League group stage for six long years. But they have certainly shown under Slot in the past couple of seasons that they can excel in continental competition. They reached the final of the Conference League last year and the quarter-finals of the Europa League earlier this year.

The manager who was targeted by Spurs in the summer before they turned their attentions to bringing in Ange Postecoglou, however, is convinced that Celtic have a style of play which can be effective on foreign fields as well and is anticipating a difficult 90 minutes.

READ MORECeltic striker Kyogo Furuhashi provides update on shoulder issue

“First of all, they play football which I like to see,” he said. “That’s not only this season, that is also in previous seasons as well with their former coach.

“But Brendan Rodgers did a very good job with Leicester City. He reached the semi-final of the Conference League with football everyone enjoyed watching. This season he has done this with Celtic as well.

“There are players who stand out for me when it comes to the threat they have. That is of course the two players up front, especially the striker (Furuhashi) and the left winger (Daizen Maeda) as well. They both have a lot of threatening deep runs.

“But I also like their midfield, the way they play and the style they play. It is my belief that the players all have individual skills, but they can grow because of the team. You can see the team structure is very good, that is why the individuals perform like they do.”

Celtic manager Rodgers is missing centre-backs Cameron Carter-Vickers, Maik Nawrocki and Stephen Welsh at the moment – and Feyenoord have scored no fewer than 17 goals in their last three Eredivisie matches.

Glasgow Times: Celtic striker Kyogo Furuhashi, right, in action against Dundee at Parkhead on Saturday

It is the first time since 1958 and only the second time in their entire 115 year history they have netted five goals or more in three consecutive games.

But Slot, who is himself without centre-forwards Santiago Gimenez and Ayase Ueda, does not anticipate his counterpart adopting a more defensive approach in this outing or the opposition players being intimidated playing in such a hostile arena.

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“If you have played so many Old Firms, I don’t think that you are nervous for a game at our stadium,” he said. “On a European night, this is a special stadium to go to. But they have so much experience of winning league titles and cup titles that I don’t think that they are nervous that we have a few good wins against minor teams in our league.”

Slot revealed that he had enjoyed watching Rangers back in the late 1990s and early 2000s when his countrymen Dick Advocaat and Giovanni van Bronckhorst – who are both former Feyenoord managers – were at Ibrox.

However, he admitted that he believes Celtic are now a superior side to their city rivals. 

“I am a Dutchman and I liked to watch Glasgow Rangers because of Advocaat and Van Bronckhorst,” he said. “At that time, they were really good. But in the last 10 years Celtic have performed much better.

“They have been champions nine times. It is really difficult to become a champion because last year I became a champion so I know. You just have to respect these types of teams, even if it’s a competition which has only two teams to decide it.

“So I think I offend the Rangers supporters, but Celtic has been a much better team than Rangers if you look at the results. I think you should skill them on another level.”

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