Ange Postecoglou says there is room in his Celtic squad for one more January signing, but insists there are no imminent arrivals or exits.
Celtic have already signed Alistair Johnston, Yuki Kobayashi and Tomoki Iwata during this month’s transfer window as they look to ensure they maintain their position at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Postecoglou suggested there could be further activity, but rejected suggestions that his new arrivals would lead to a need to trim the size of his squad ahead of the second half of the season.
“No great urgency,” Postecoglou said when asked about potential departures. “By bringing in three players early, we’re in a position now where we’re not really on tenterhooks in January.
“If we do happen to lose players, we aren’t scrambling around to try to replace them. We’ve got a really strong squad, which I’m happy with, and we can make the decision over incomings or exits without any need for panic.”
Celtic hold a nine-point lead over second-placed Rangers in the table, but Postecoglou and Michael Nicholson, Celtic’s chief executive, may not be finished adding to their squad.
“Our planning has been to get our business done early,” explained the manager. “We’re still active – I think there’s probably still space for one more.
“If no one exits through this window, that’s fine. Yeah, we’ve got a big squad, but with our schedule, everyone will contribute.”
Postecoglou also had a warning for any members of his squad who may be upset at a lack of guaranteed playing time following Celtic’s transfer business.
“There’s been a handful of players who haven’t had an opportunity this year, but mostly they all play, they all contribute,” said the manager.
“You can have guaranteed game time – but you won’t play for this club or any big club.
“You can get it at a club where they’re not as strong or not competing for trophies, but that’s not what the biggest players want.
“They want to be the best and they want to win every competition. To do that, they understand you need to have a strong squad and compete for places.
“If at any point a player is not happy with that, or wants more game time, there’s one way to do that and that is to train hard and present yourself in the best possible light.
“Or, you can look for other opportunities elsewhere.”
‘Giakoumakis exit not imminent’
One player expected to leave Parkhead this month is Giorgos Giakoumakis, with Celtic accepting a bid worth an initial £3m from Japanese club Urawa Red Diamonds for the striker.
Giakoumakis is still weighing up his options amid interest from MLS side Atlanta United – who are yet to make a bid – but Postecoglou said he does not expect the Greece international to make a hasty exit.
Asked if there was an update over the future of Giakoumakis – whose talks over a new Celtic deal stalled a few months ago – Postecoglou said: “No, pretty much the same. Michael’s dealing with that.
“No one’s leaving, no one’s coming. There’s obviously going to be speculation, but from my perspective – at this moment – there’s nothing.”
‘Revenge not the motivator against St Mirren’
While the January window is in full flow, Postecoglou’s focus must remain on events on the field, with Celtic’s next match coming in the Premiership against St Mirren on Wednesday.
St Mirren are the only side to beat Celtic in domestic competition this season, but Postecoglou revealed he would be disappointed with any of his players that use revenge as their primary motivation for the game.
The manager said: “I’d be really, really disappointed if they [his players] are more motivated for tomorrow (Wednesday) than they were in the last game. That’s not my expectations.
“Your motivation should be there every time you play, to try to be your best and beat whatever opponent’s in front of you. If you need revenge as a motivator, go and lose every second game and you’ll be great.
“That’s not how it works here. We’re very motivated because we’re representing this football club.
“We’re in a strong position in the league and we want to continue our consistency of performance and results. That’s our motivation every week. It doesn’t need anything extra for these guys.”
Postecoglou also indicated changes to his starting line-up are likely following Saturday’s 2-0 Viaplay Cup semi-final win against Kilmarnock, which was earned in “trying conditions” at Hampden Park.
“Yeah, it’s fair to say the game – and obviously the conditions – took a fair bit out of the boys,” said Postecoglou. “I haven’t made a final decision yet, but there will be changes. We need to freshen up the team.”
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