ANGE POSTECOGLOU has revealed he has “a couple” of recruits lined up as he prepares to plunge into the January transfer market.

The Celtic boss pulled off a triple swoop at the turn of this year with the arrival of J-League trio Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi.

He added smooth midfielder Matt O’Riley, a £1.5million bargain from MK Dons, and teenage striker Johnny Kenny, from Sligo Rovers, for good measure.

The wheeling and dealing sparked the Hoops in the second half of the campaign and once two goals from Hatate against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s stunned Ibrox side at the start of February had propelled the club back to the Premiership pinnacle after an absence of 18 months, they remained in pole position until they were awarded their tenth crown in 11 years.

NEW YEAR…NEW FACES…Celtic trio of J-League recruits Yosuke Ideguchi, Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate take their bow in Paradise at the start of 2022.

Central defender Yuki Kobayashi is on his way to team up with his former Vissel Kobe colleague Kyogo Furuhashi, as CQN reported last month, but he won’t be the only new face at Parkhead for the start of 2023.

Postecoglou admitted: “It’s fair to say there’s a couple lined up.

“It’s how we’ve done things and how I believe we need to be. It’s how I’m built. I don’t like rushing around last minute. It’s not always the case.

“Matt O’Riley we did in three days last year. We saw an opportunity and moved really quickly. We need to be agile when we need to and when we don’t, we can methodically plan to make sure we get things done.

“If we can get guys early, once January 1 hits they are already part of this football club.”

Postecoglou continued: “For us to challenge the teams we want to challenge, we need to do things a bit differently.

“We have to box clever. It’s worked well for us so far. The markets we’ve tapped into have been really beneficial for us and we’ve got great value in terms of what they’ve provided to our football club.

“We’ll be looking to do it again.”

WELCOME TO PARADISE…new Bhoy Matt O’Riley gets acquainted with his new surroundings.

Looking ahead to strengthening his squad, the 57-year-old Greek-Australian gaffer, speaking to the Daily Record, remarked: “I’m always happy, always excited. There’s always something that needs to be done.

“It’s not just about bringing in new players for the sake of it. It’s one we feel can take us to the next level.

“What we have done in the league so far is a strong foundation for us and the target is now to finish the season better than we started.”

The champions will travel to Pittodrie to face Aberdeen on Saturday December 17 when the league restarts after the World Cup break and they make the journey with a nine-point advantage over their nearest challengers who have just axed their manager and face their first game against Hibs two days earlier at Ibrox.

EYE ON THE BALL…Ange Postecoglou scrutinises his players against Everton in Sydney.

Postecoglou added: “We’ll definitely be stronger. I’ve said this was the difficult period for us we’ve just been through. No doubt we’ll be stronger – we’ll NEED to be stronger.

“We can’t stand still, no matter if people are saying we’ve had a great start. I refuse to stand still. Whatever the watermark has been, we aim to raise it when we get back. It has to be the way. I think that’s what the club has always strived to be.

“I get the sense sometimes you get distracted by other things, but the goal for us should be to always be stronger every year and bridging the gaps with the ones we want to compete with.

“You have to do that in all areas.”

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