ANGE POSTECOGLOU is playing it cool as he prepares for the challenge of Hearts at Parkhead tomorrow evening.

The Celtic boss, who lost his first-ever Premiership game against the Edinburgh outfit at Tynecastle in July, is adamant nothing will be decided in the pursuit of the title in the forthcoming round of fixtures.

The Hoops can go five points clear of the visitors with a game in hand if they get revenge for the earlier loss in the capital.

Asked if that would confirm a two-way title fight between his club and Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox side, he answered: “Statement games are at the back end of the year.

“Let’s just keep our pistols in our holsters for a little while.”

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT…Kyogo Furuhashi was a loser in Edinburgh on his first Celtic appearance.

Celtic are without a loss in domestic competitions since September and Postecoglou, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “We’ve definitely evolved from that first game. We literally had Kyogo come to lunch and then was in the squad and Carl Starfelt was similar.

“We had a rough beginning, but we felt we had to be resilient and not make excuses and we’ve had steady improvements.

“We’re not putting an endpoint on things, we just want to improve. There’s no chance we’re anywhere near it yet, but it’s up to me to make sure the message is consistent that we can always improve should we seek it.

“They’re a good team, have been consistent and have an outstanding goalkeeper who’s been in great form this year.

“As the table shows, they’ve been one of the more consistent sides in the league and have their strengths like all other teams.

“For us, it’s about the football we play. We want to be the team that goes out there and dominates the game and creates opportunities, so the focus is well and truly on us.”

BY THE LEFT…Tom Rogic scores in Celtic’s 6-0 romp over Dundee at Parkhead in August.

The Greek-Australian gaffer confirmed fit-again midfielders Nir Bitton and Tom Rogic will be available for selection, but defender Carl Starfelt is still sidelined with his hamstring injury while striker Giorgos Giakoumakis is also ruled out with a knee problem.

There is still no time frame for a return for Christopher Jullien who has not played this year following knee surgery after colliding with a post in the 3-0 win over Dundee United in Glasgow on December 30.

Scotland international left-back Greg Taylor is also working his way back to fitness after sustaining an injury to his left shoulder in the 2-1 loss to AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands on August 26.

The match against Robbie Neilson’s men will be the second in the east end of Glasgow in this campaign after Celtic overcame the Edinburgh side 3-2 in the Premier Sports League Cup on their way to the December 19 Final against Hibs.


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