NEW Bhoy Yuki Kobayashi made his first appearance in a Celtic shirt in the closed-door game against Rennes in Portugal yesterday.
The towering Japanese central defender came on in the 78th minute for Carl Starfelt as the Hoops prepared for Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Saturday with a solid work-out against the Ligue 1 side who won 4-3.
The bounce game was all about getting the players ready for the match in the north east in six days’ time when they restart the league campaign after completing the first half of the programme with a nine-point advantage.
Kobayashi, who cannot play a competitive fixture until his five-year contract is rubberstamped on January 1, just missed a reunion with his former Vissel Kobe team-mate Kyogo Furuhashi who made way for Giorgos Giakoumakis on the hour mark.
GREEN FOR GO…new Japanese Bhoy Yuki Kobayashi (second right) with Celtic team-mates Benji Siegrist, Kyogo Furuhashi, David Turnbull, James Forrest and Giorgis Giakoumakis before yesterday’s bounce game.
The Japanese frontman had been on target in the first-half with a neat lob to add to a double of excellent strikes from Matt O’Riley.
The left-sided back-four operator was simply getting to know his new colleagues and Ange Postecoglou said: “It’s been a bit early for him and it’s just an introduction. We’ve got a good three weeks before he’s even available to play.
“It’s just been a case of him getting to know the lads and how we train. As always, the boys have been really good and the next few weeks it’s about getting up to speed.
“There were some good bits, some not-so-good bits. The boys have worked hard and probably felt the effects of it in the game at times, but overall it was a positive week.
“We got some minutes into the players, particularly Callum McGregor and Carl Starfelt who haven’t played a lot recently, and they have all come through it really well.”
WATCHFUL EYE…boss Ange Postecoglou made sure his players maintained their focus in Portugal. Image courtesy Celtic TV.
Postecoglou, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “We gave the boys a week off which we thought was important after the schedule we had. We went to Australia and it was a great week, but it took a toll on them in terms of the travel.
“So, to give them a week away to freshen up was good and it was really important we got them back focused in here.
“We’ve been able to train here with good facilities and work hard for seven days and we have a normal lead into the Aberdeen game.”
Looking ahead to the Saturday afternoon encounter against Jim Goodwin’s Dons, the Greek-Australian gaffer added: “We’ve just got to keep improving our football and progressing.
“It’s a tough first game at home away to Aberdeen, but we’ve had a good week here, will have another week at Lennoxtown and we will be ready for it.”