ANGE POSTECOGLOU has applauded the efforts of recruitment chief Mark Lawwell as he prepares to plunge into the January transfer market.

Last year, with Celtic in second place in the Premiership, the manager strengthened his squad with a triple swoop on the J-League to bring in Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi.

The relatively unknown Matt O’Riley arrived in a £1.5million move from the obscurity of English third-tier club MK Dons while teenage Irish striker Johnny Kenny was signed as one for the future.

TWO FOR THE ROAD…Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda celebrate Celtic’s crucial  3-0 derby triumph at the beginning of February.

A double salvo by Hatate in the 3-0 romp against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox side on February 2 at Parkhead propelled the Hoops to the top of the league for the first time in 18 months and they remained at the summit until the silverware was handed over in May.

This time around, it appears certain Postecoglou has already kicked-started his recruitment drive with central defender Yuki Kobayashi poised to join his former Vissel Kobe team-mate Kyogo Furuhashi at Parkhead.

Others are in the pipeline as the champions aim to build from a position of strength as they go into the World Cup break with a nine-point advantage in their pursuit of a second successive crown, their eleventh championship in 12 years.

The Greek-Australian gaffer has stressed work will continue behind the scenes identifying potential signings over the next month while the soccer showpiece takes place in the Middle East.

Lawwell, who was appointed head of first-team scouting and recruitment at the club in July after spending 10 years at Manchester City, and his staff have been working hard in attempting to identify suitable targets.

ON THE MOVE…highly-rated Vissel Kobe central defender Yuki Kobayashi looks to be heading for Celtic.

Postecoglou, speaking to The Herald, said: “You need to have good people around you and a good scouting network and a good recruiting area which we have now with Mark Lawwell.

“They do all that work in terms of gathering information and then we make that decision.

“Every decision I make, I try and flood myself with as much information as possible. What I am good at is sifting out what is useful and what is not, but I have always relied on information.

“Ultimately, it comes down to a judgement because you could have three players and there is not much difference between them in terms of qualities and then it comes down to my experience and my judgement.

“But before we get to that stage information for me is everything and not just around transfers, but every decision I make.

“When I start a starting XI people make their judgements, but they have a tenth of the information I have when I make that decision.

“Maybe if they had all the information I had then they would come to the same conclusion.”

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