CELTIC fans can expect changes in Ange Postecoglou’s starting line-up against St Mirren at Parkhead tonight.

And the Hoops followers may even get a first glimpse of Japanese new Bhoy Yuki Kobayashi in action following his arrival in mid-November on a five-year contract from Vissel Kobe.

The 22-year-old left-sided defender’s deal was activated on January 1 and he was on the substitutes’ bench 24 hours later in the 2-2 draw at Ibrox where fellow-recruit Alistair Johnston, the Canadian World Cup right-back bought from MLS outfit CF Montreal for £3.5million, made his debut.

BY THE LEFT…Yuki Kobayashi warms up before Celtic’s Viaplay League Cup semi-final against Kilmarnock.

Kobayashi has also been on the bench for the double 2-0 successes over Kilmarnock in the league and Viaplay Cup games and is nearing his bow in the top side.

The monsoon conditions during the semi-final victory over the Ayrshire club proved to be a stamina-sapping experience for Postecoglou’s players and that will see the manager freshen up his team for the visit of the Paisley club, the only Scottish team to beat the champions this season.

The Hoops boss said: “It was a tough game last weekend for all the players with the conditions the way they were.

“James Forrest, Dave Turnbull and Giorgos Giakoumakis all came on and contributed to our second goal and that’s been consistent for us this season.

“I don’t have any fears about the guys being ready.”

Kobayashi could be in the manager’s thoughts, but there won’t be a sighting of J-League Player of the Year Tomoki Iwata who has also arrived from Yokohama F Marinos in this transfer window.

NO SUBSTITUTE FOR CLASS…Giorgos Giakoumakis scores Celtic’s second goal after David Turnbull’s low shot had been pushed out by Kilmarnock keeper Sam Walker.

Asked about the possibility of an introduction for the elegant back-four operator, Postecoglou, speaking to the Scottish Sun, added: “It depends. Tomoki probably not yet, he only really joined us in the last week and he has missed a bit.

“Yuki is close, he came to us having started a pre-season camp, so he’s had a good three or four weeks of training.

“He obviously lacks some game-time. And we will probably give him some of that through the next couple of fixtures, with the quick turnaround from midweek to Saturday.

“Yuki’s definitely close, but for Tomoki, it will probably be another week or so before he’s in a condition to be given an opportunity.”

*DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v St Mirren this evening – only in your champion CQN.

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