ANGE POSTECOGLOU is facing up to a possible dilemma after the rescheduled fixture list was announced following the winter break being brought forward.
Celtic were due to play the second Glasgow derby of the season at Parkhead on Sunday January 2 which would have been watched by only 500 fans after the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 restrictions imposed on Tuesday.
However, after the Hoops hierarchy called for the campaign closure to be brought forward, the match has been postponed until Wednesday February 2 when there are Asian World Cup qualifiers due on and around that date.
PENSIVE POSTECOGLOU…the Celtic manager answers questions after the scoreless draw in Paisley.
It could mean Postecoglou going into the game against Giovani van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox outfit without the services of the team’s top marksman Kyogo Furuhashi, who could be called up by Japan, and Australian playmaker Tom Rogic, who has emerged as a key man this season.
The striking skills of the 16-goal hitman were certainly urgently required in the dire goalless draw with St Mirren in Paisley last night as the Parkhead men stumbled six points adrift at the top of the Premiership.
Kyogo could be spared due to strict travel guidelines in his country and Postecoglou acknowledged the possibility of two key performers being unavailable and said: “There is a lot of violin playing around the place, we are not going to be one of them.
“I am very supportive of our club’s stance. It makes sense to me to use the natural break.
“I have said all along that fans are an integral part of this game.
HIT AND MISS…Kyogo Furuhashi’s firepower was required in Paisley – and will be crucial next year.
“If having that break gives us a chance, without guarantees, to get them back in, it’s much better.
“I don’t like playing closed doors – fans are an important part home and away.”
Reflecting on a frustrating and disappointing evening in Paisley, Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “We created enough chances and we dominated, but we lacked quality in the final third to finish them off.
“It wasn’t a night when everything went right for St Mirren because we did a lot wrong.
“It wasn’t all good defending, it was also our own finishing.
“We had enough chances to win a few games. If you don’t take them, that’s what you get.
“It’s not down to personnel. We had good chances for the guys out there to take them.
“We should have won and if we’d more composure and people had been stronger in their intent, we would have done.”
ON THE BALL…Tom Rogic shrugs off St Mirren defender Joe Shaughnessey as he tries to inspire the Hoops.
Postecoglou, who is now preparing his team for the Boxing Day match against St Johnstone in Perth before the advanced winter shutdown, accepted his player pool needs January reinforcements.
He added: “Look, that’s been evident for a long time now, that we need a stronger squad.
“That’s not just tonight. That’s not why we didn’t win tonight, we should have won tonight, we had enough of the ball, we had enough possession, we had enough chances, irrespective of all the other factors.
“Even if we hadn’t won tonight it doesn’t stop the fact that at the moment we have got 11 guys who are injured.
“Any squad would have been challenged by that.
“But, for me, I still think we haven’t had enough quality in the squad to be able to rotate players through a heavy schedule.
“That isn’t surprising. It was always going to take more than one window to get the squad we wanted. That is logical.”