CELTIC have confirmed they will tour Japan in the summer.
The champions will prepare for the 2023/24 campaign in the Far East in July as they strengthen their link with the country.
Ange Postecoglou, who led Yokohama F Marinos to the league title, has brought in SIX J-League stars since he arrived at Parkhead in June 2021.
THAT’S MY JAPANESE BHOY…Ange Postecoglou with League Cup Final hero Kyogo Furuhashi after February’s 2-1 derby success.
Striker Kyogo Furuhashi was the first to be recruited a month after the Greek-Australian manager had been named as Neil Lennon’s long-term successor. Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi joined their compatriot in the January 2022 transfer window.
And Japanese Player of the Year Tomoki Iwata and central defender Yuki Kobayashi switched to the champions 12 months later.
Following an initial European training camp, Postecoglou’s squad will take part in a week-long visit to Japan, with details finalised within the next few days. There is also a planned stop-over in South Korea, homeland, of course, of striker Oh Hyeon-gyu who was recruited in January.
Parkhead boss Postecoglou, in a club statement, said: “We are really looking forward to our summer tour to Japan, and we’re sure it will be hugely successful for the club and excellent preparation for next season.
“Clearly, Celtic has a real, long-standing connection with Japan, through previous visits and players such as Shunsuke Nakamura and, of course, now through our current squad members, so it will be great to visit and really bring this relationship to life.
THAT’S MY JAPANESE BHOY…Ange Postecglou embraces Reo Hatate after a superb performance against Hearts at Tynecastle.
“As we saw from our brilliant visit to Australia last year, the appetite for Celtic globally is huge and it is right that we maximise these great opportunities and show the world all that is great about our club.
“We wanted to pay respect to Japanese football so we are delighted to be engaging with the J-League and its clubs.
“Japanese football is on a real upward trajectory at the moment, so we know we will be facing real tests, something which will be great for the team as we go into the challenges of next season.”
The Hoops, with Gordon Strachan as manager and midfield ace Nakamura in the team, previously visited the country in 2006.
* For up-to-date information on match details, stay tuned to www.celticfc.com.