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Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou says side will be ready for revised Rangers derby

CELTIC manager Ange Postecoglou has insisted that the Parkhead side are fully prepared that the revised derby game against Rangers on February 2nd may mean he is potentially without four players.

Australian internationalist Tom Rogic is expected to feature for the Socceroos as they seek to land a fifth successive World Cup place.  Graham Arnold’s side play Vietnam in Melbourne on January 27 and are away in Oman five days later, at the same time Celtic are hosting the Ibrox side.

Japan have two crucial Qatar 2022 qualifiers against China, on January 27, and Saudi Arabia five days later, with their World Cup qualifying hopes hanging in the balance.

They have already announced they will use domestic players only for a friendly against Uzbekistan on January 21 as part of a training camp this month.

But for the World Cup qualifiers it will be their strongest team which may mean that Kyogo Furuhashi as well as new signings Daizen Maeda and Yasuke Ideguchi could also be out of the Rangers game.

Postecoglou, who took Australia to the 2014 World Cup, understands the pull of the global tournament and will not try to look for a way round the issue.

“It’s a World Cup game so there are no negotiations,” he said. “Both teams have important qualifiers and World Cups are important for every country irrespective of where you come from. 

“We are obliged to release them and we will. That has been in our planning for a while.  We have known that they are going to be away in that period if they get selected.

“I totally understand that whatever fixtures we have in that period they are likely to miss out.”

Meanwhile, the Greek-Australian remains optimistic that there will be a way for fans to get back into stadiums after the winter break.

The break was brought forward after a vote as club look to maximise the opportunity of playing in front of supporters, with Postecoglou maintaining it was the sensible decision to make.

“That’s the whole idea of coming to this common-sense approach that I am pleased the clubs and the league have agreed on,” he said.

“It just makes sense for everybody. I don’t think there will be a manager anywhere who wants to play behind closed doors anymore. 

“I think we have had that experience and it’s certainly one we don’t want to revisit. Hopefully the measures taken now can help us avoid that. Credit to everyone for coming to the decision. Hopefully when we get back playing we are in front of fans in stadiums, the atmosphere we all like to enjoy.” 

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