ANGE POSTECOGLOU has admitted he does “not feel sorry” for Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate after their omission from the Japanese squad.

However, the Celtic boss revealed he does “feel for them” following the snub from international chief Hajime Moriyasu for the forthcoming friendlies against Colombia and Uruguay.

The Blue Samurai head coach made a veiled reference to the lack of competition in the Premiership although, adding to the confusion, he selected their Hoops team-mate Daizen Maeda who was a stand-out for the country in the Qatar soccer showpiece in November.

THAT’S MY BHOY…Ange Postecoglou acclaims Kyogo Furuhashi after another fine display for the Hoops.

Asked if he had concerns about the stature of the Scottish top flight, Postecoglou answered: “No, mate, you come here next week and there will be few players in the building because the rest of them will be on international duties.

“We had four or five at the World Cup and they were all outstanding. We have had players recently – Josip Juranovic and Moritz Jenz – who have gone to the Bundesliga and are regular starters.

“I don’t think it is relevant at all, and that is not to discount the opinion of the Japanese team manager, that is for him to decide how he selects players.

“From my perspective, the level of the individual performance in terms of national team selection has very little to do with the competition.

“Next week, we have multiple players away and the World Cup is a pretty good reference point, mate. I don’t think anyone would say that guys like Aaron Mooy and Cameron Carter-Vickers and Josip and Daizen and Alistair Johnston, guys who were part of ours, didn’t perform at the highest level.

“So, if you want a reference point, that’s the one you should look at.”

THAT’S MY BHOY…Ange Postecoglou salutes Reo Hatate after a marvellous goal in a 2-1 win over Hearts at Tynecastle on January 26 last year.

Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “I do not feel sorry for them, but you do feel for them.

“There is no greater disappointment for any footballer than missing a World Cup, but if you see how they have reacted to that, it is fair to say that they have used it to take their game to another level, both Reo and Kyogo.

“It will keep being that way, they will keep pushing on. They are both top quality players with heaps of improvement in them.

“They’ll both reach the very top of the game and these things are just little tests along the way. For every footballer, there are always different challenges for them, and this is it.

“But if you look at the way they have responded to missing out on the World Cup, if anything it motivates them to keep pushing on and being the best they can be.”

BUNCH OF FIVES…Celtic’s Far Eastern contingent Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda, Tomoki Iwata and Yuki Kobayashi after the 2-1 Viaplay League Cup Final success last month.

Kyogo, scorer of 26 goals this season, and Hatate, who has been in a rich seam of form in recent months, are likely to be part of the Hoops squad when Hibs provide the opposition at Parkhead this afternoon.

There may also be a place for their countryman Yuki Kobayashi who came on at the interval for the injured Carl Starfelt in the 3-0 Scottish Cup quarter-final win over Hearts at Tynecastle a week ago.

The Swede is now clear of his knock, but Postecoglou may see the match against the Easter Road side, clobbered 6-1 in Glasgow in October, as an ideal opportunity to continue the progress of the 22-year-old left-sided back-four operator who arrived from Vissel Kobe in January.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Hibs this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

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