HOPES for South Korean duo Yang Hyun-jun and Kwon Hyeok-kyu to team up with Celtic in Japan have been dashed.

The deals for the players have yet to be rubber-stamped, but the champions do not anticipate any problems with red tape before getting the transfers over the line.

It is now more likely winger Yang and midfielder Kwon, at a combined cost of £3million, will catch up with their new team-mates in Scotland next week.

Brendan Rodgers admitted: “There is nothing to confirm as yet. We are working very hard on various things to make the group better.

WATCHING BRIEF…Brendan Rodgers looks on as he puts his players through their paces.

“The best time to improve and develop is when the team is doing well. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to get the team ready for when it matters. And there is still a bit of time to go.”

The Irishman, in his second stint in the Parkhead dug-out, has already added Norwegian midfielder Odin Thiago Holm and Australian flanker Marco Tilio to his squad while he has also seen Filipe Jota depart in a £25million deal to Saudi Arabia and Aussie World Cup star Aaron Mooy retire.

Rodgers is now looking for to ramp up his players’ pre-season preparations when they take on Tomoki Iwata and Daizen Maeda’s former team Yokohama F Marinos in the Nissan stadium today, kick-off 11 am UK time.

The Hoops gaffer, speaking to the  Daily Record, added: “Portugal was great last week. It was a similar temperature [30 degrees] to the way it is here, albeit it’s a lot more humidity now.

“But we’ve had one good week away and looking forward to this one.

“Yokohama F Marinos are halfway through their season, so they’ll be in a really good physical condition. It’ll be a good test for us at this stage. The priority for us is building the fitness and building the mentality that goes with that.

“Given the opposition are further on from us physically, it’s the perfect test. This is my first trip to Japan and we’ve all been received very, very well.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Yokohama F Marinos v Celtic today – only in your champion CQN.

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