Why Ange Postecoglou expects four Celtic stars to 'hit the ground running' next season

By Patrick Sinat

May 24, 2023

Ange Postecoglou has done wonders in the transfer market for Celtic over the past two seasons. Trying to get the right kind of players in during a normal season is difficult enough but during one of the biggest rebuilds in recent history? It seemed like the Celtic boss had a mountain to climb.

But that he did. And his recruitment since coming to Celtic has been remarkable. Almost all of his signings have come in and been successful.

This season has seen more of the same. The January additions of Yuki Kobayashi, Alistair Johnston, Tomoki Iwata and Hyeongyu Oh have helped not only boost the squad depth but have also helped contribute to our success.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But after coming off the back of completing a full season at their former clubs, or in the case of Johnston where he was at the World Cup, the manager is still happy with their contribution. But he is expecting more from them next season.

Postecoglou said [Celtic FC YouTube], “The boys have all come in and they’ve all done a job for us. They’ve all helped us achieve what we’ve achieved so far.

“They’ve fit in really well with the group, they’re contributing where they can and I’ve got no doubt once we start pre-season next year, they’ll feel much more comfortable about tackling the season ahead, particularly with the pre-season under their belts and being able to start at the same place as everyone else.

“Because as I said, it’s not easy when you’ve completed a season, you come across here and then everyone else is kind of mid-season. You play 18 months of football without a real break.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

“So, for all of them, I think I think this has been good because it’s introduced them to the football here, the club here, life here in many respects and it means pre-season next year they’ll hit the ground running.”

Kobayashi, Iwata and Oh have all shown flashes of what they are capable of with the limited minutest they have had in the first team. And whilst they have impressed at points, it’s fair to say that we do need to see more from them.

Alistair Johnston has been exceptional since joining up with the squad after the World Cup. After a very good debut in the New Year Glasgow Derby, the Celtic defender has gone on from strength to strength. If Ange is expecting to see him get better then we are in for a treat next season.

In other news, Report: Celtic in ‘constant exchanges’ with Eduvie Ikoba