REO HATATE’S punishing second-half in the opening-day 2-0 win over Aberdeen at Parkhead last weekend has taken its toll.

The Japanese international was on the receiving end of some heavy treatment from the opposition before he was forced to come off in the 66th minute to be replaced by David Turnbull.

Now the influential midfielder will miss the trip to Dingwall for tomorrow afternoon’s league encounter with Malky Mackay’s Ross County.

Ange Postecoglou revealed there was no chance of Hatate figuring in the Highlands and admitted: “Reo has been in rehab all week. He picked up a couple of knocks and felt a muscle strain.

“He actually had a bit of a run today, but tomorrow he’ll miss out.”

HIGHLAND FLING…Ange Postecoglou is aiming for three more points from Ross County in Dingwall.

The manager also confirmed Carl Starfelt, who hasn’t figured since the 6-0 victory over Motherwell when the curtain came down on last season’s title triumph on May 14, has completed his first full week of training after returning from the injury sustained while representing Sweden in the summer.

The £4.2million buy from Russian giants Rubin Kazan 13 months ago will not figure against County, but he could be in contention next week for the match against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

Postecoglou said: “Carl Starfelt is training and available and we have to pick our moment to throw him back in there as he’s not played competitive football.”

REO OUT OF ROSS COUNTY RECKONING…Japanese star Reo Hatate shows his feelings in training.

Reflecting on the encounter against the Dons, the team boss commented: “I thought it was comfortable for us, but I also thought we could be more dominant in certain periods, particularly just before half-time.

“The players addressed that and responded in the second-half and had a good response to a 15-minute patch where I didn’t feel we were as dominant as a team.

“My role is to make sure I give the players feedback that’s constructive and will help us move forward and that was my feelings after the game.”

The Greek-Australian gaffer, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “We have had a week’s training, so we can take a different approach in the sessions.

“Training has been really good this week and we’re stronger than last season, so it means the sessions are super competitive and at a high tempo.

HAPPY DAZE…David Turnbull is about to be congratulated by James Forrest after scoring the second goal against Norwich City in pre-season at Parkhead.

“We get more work done to prepare for weekend games when we don’t have midweek games, so this period is giving us a chance to get ready for what’s ahead, as once things properly start there won’t be much time for training.”

Postecoglou added: “If you look at the likes of David Turnbull, he has had a good pre-season and made an impact, so I’m expecting a big year from him as injury stopped him last year.

“We’re getting stronger in midfield and we need that because it’s an area that really takes a toll.

“Hopefully, this year with the strength we have in midfield we can keep him and others fresh to make the best impact.

“My thinking around these things is, I select a team for a game to give us a decent chance to get on top of the opposition.

“Once the game’s over, it’s over, and a whole range of things come into the next selection and if a player starts, so the shirt is there for all of them if they’re starting or if they’re not.”

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