CELTIC will dispel fears they could be without star trio Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda for the second Glasgow derby on December 30.
Reports indicate Japan will call up all three players as they prepare for the Asian Cup with a friendly on January 1 2024, just two days after Philippe Clement’s Ibrox side visit Parkhead.
The Hoops, though, are NOT compelled to allow players to miss club matches for non-competitive international games although FIFA can insist on mandatory release for scheduled tournament fixtures.
HAIR-RAISING…Kyogo Furuhashi races away after scoring the opening goal in the 2-0 win over Tunisia – his fifth strike for Japan.
Kyogo and Hatate were involved in their nation’s recent encounters with Canada and Tunisia, where the striker scored his fifth goal for his country, while Maeda was forced to call off through injury.
The Japanese aces are likely to be involved in Hajime Moriyasu’s squad for the Asian Cup-ties against Vietnam (home) on January 12, Iraq (away) five days later and Indonesia (home) on January 24.
Brendan Rodgers’ side will face St Mirren in Paisley on January 2 before the winter break kicks in 24 hours later until January 19.
There is no clash of dates with the first two competitive outings. The holders will be involved in a Scottish Cup-tie on the weekend of January 20/21 and are due to meet Hibs at Easter Road in the Premiership at Easter Road on February 7.
DERBY WINNER…Kyogo Furuhashi volleys in the only goal of the game at Ibrox on September 3. John Souttar gets a close-up view.
A report in Japanese outlet Sponichi states the country’s FA are planning a training camp in Chiba City at the end of the year while seeking opponents for a preparation match on the first day of 2024.
Kyogo, who scored a spectacular volley in the 1-0 win at Ibrox last month, Hatate and Maeda will also be involved in their nation’s World Cup qualifiers next month against Myanmar and Syria.
That will not create a problem with the games being played during the international break with Scotland bringing down the curtain on their successful Euro 24 qualifying campaign with a game in Tblisi against Georgia on November 16 and the final match against Norway at Hampden three days later.