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It’s an international break, but there will be no rest for Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou as he prepares for exits

© Craig Williamson / SNS GroupCeltic's Ange Postecoglou
Celtic's Ange Postecoglou

Celtic are already preparing for losing players on the back of their performances at the World Cup Finals.

Ange Postecoglou will use the international break over the next 10 days to continue his preparations for the January transfer window.

With Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Aaron Mooy and Matt O’Riley all potentially featuring in Qatar, the Hoops boss wants to protect the club against the danger his players will impress and become signing targets at the turn of the year.

“That is a part of this World Cup, but we showed last year that we always want to stay ahead of the game that way,” said Postecoglou.

“We have already started planning, and we have identified the targets that we need.

“We will look to bring in players in January, that hopefully insulates us in case any of our players are taken off our hands.

“It is a part of our planning, and we are well underway in ensuring we are ready for that.”

(From left) Reo Hatate, Matt O’Riley and Kyogo Furuhashi could all feature at the World Cup (Pic: Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Meanwhile, Postecoglou has backed Greg Taylor to successfully step into the breach for Scotland this week.

With national skipper Andy Robertson out injured, the Hoops defender is in line to take over at left-back in Nations League games against Ukraine and the Republic of Ireland, on Wednesday and Saturday respectively.

And having witnessed the 24-year-old rise to every challenge at club level under his own charge, the Celtic boss is bullish that he will cope with any demands put on him by national coach, Steve Clarke.

“Greg is one of the players who was here when I first came in and, from the first day, he has really embraced what we are trying to do,” said Postecoglou.

“He wanted to improve himself as a footballer in every aspect.

“He caught on early that there was more in his game that he could improve, and he is really starting to see the fruits of the work he has put in.

“As I keep saying, it is up to the individual.

“In life, you can settle for what you have got, and allow other people to shape opinions about us. Or we can do something about it ourselves, and change people’s opinions.

“That is the challenge for everything, rather than sitting and getting comfortable.

“Greg comes in here every day, and wants to be the very best version of himself that he can be. When you do that, I think you can change people’s perceptions.

“He could easily have settled into life as a regular at this club, but I think he is more ambitious than that. He wants more, and he feels very strongly about representing Scotland.

“I think you have seen that his performances have improved, and he has done well at Champions League level.

“But the key is to keep pushing. If he keeps that mind-set, then he can get to whatever level he wants.”

Greg Taylor has made the most of his ability for both club and country (Pic: Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Summer signing, Sead Haksabanovic, is hoping to feature at the SMISA Stadium today as he bids to build up his match sharpness.

The winger made his first start for the Hoops in the midweek Champions League draw with Shakhtar Donetsk, but was substituted at half-time and replaced by Daizen Maeda.

“I didn’t know I was going to start against Shakhtar – and wasn’t expecting to do so – until a few hours before the game,” said the Montenegrin.

“It feels good to have the manager’s confidence, and 45 minutes was probably right for me because I have not played (through a whole game) for so long.

“I still need to improve. But the more I play, the better I will get. Of course, there are a lot of good players already at this club.”

Postecoglou is known to demand a lot from his forward players, who are expected to harry opposition defenders constantly as part of their job.

“It is something I need to get used to,” said Haksabanovic, a former Rubin Kazan team-mate of both Carl Starfelt and deadline day signing, Oliver Abildgaard.

“This is the way I want to play. I want to press high and win the ball back, so I think the way the team plays will suit me.”

As the Celt confirmed, after today’s game he stands to pick up some minutes from his international duty with Montenegro.

“Yes, I have been called up to the squad for our two games,” he said.

“We play against Bosnia and Finland in the Nations League, so I am looking forward to that.

“The national coach, Miodrag Radulovic, has kept in touch with me.

“He’s told me that I am now playing at a high level with Celtic, and he is quite happy with the choice I made.”