ANGE Postecoglou tonight expressed hope that new Celtic signing Giorgos Giakoumakis will return to training this week and could be fit to face Aberdeen in a cinch Premiership match at Pittodrie next Sunday. 

Postecoglou is also optimistic the hamstring injury that forced off Czech Republic full-back Josip Juranovic in the first-half of his side’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Dundee United at Parkhead is not serious.

And he revealed that Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy, who was the victim of a bad foul by Jeando Fuchs early on today, had been replaced at half-time as a precautionary measure. 

Giakoumakis, a £2.5m signing from Dutch club VVV-Venlo back in August, suffered a calf strain when he was warming up in the first-half of the Premier Sports Cup quarter-final against Raith Rovers at Parkhead on Thursday night.

However, the Greek forward’s manager predicted he could make his long-awaited debut this weekend and is hopeful that other absentees will return to action imminently as well. 

Asked about Giakoumakis, he said: “The scan came back actually more positive than we thought so we’re hoping he’ll get back into training this week which is good news because he’s missed a fair bit. 

“It wasn’t just the injury which we thought might be significant. We thought he might have to go back into rehab. But the fact the scan has come back pretty good means he can get back out training again. 

“If Giakoumakis gets a full week of training we’re quite hopeful (be ready for Aberdeen). He I only really missed two days of training and had a session today. Hopefully he’ll be back training with the group early in the week.” 

Postecoglou continued: “Josip felt his hamstring a little bit. We hope it isn't too bad. We will get it scanned and see how it goes.

“We’ve just got to get through to the next international break. By then Giorgos should be available. Kyogo (Furuhashi) isn’t too far away and so is Cal (Callum McGregor). 

“(James) Forrest, Mikey Johnston will come back to help us - we’re hoping post international break.” 

Asked why McCarthy had been replaced by Ismaila Soro, Postecoglou said: “James had a fair tackle early on and was feeling the effects of that knock so we just thought we’d change it up at half time. We didn’t want to make it worse.” 

Celtic have now won just one of their last four Premiership matches - their worst start to a league campaign in 23 years.

But Postecoglou praised the contribution of wingers Liel Abada and Jota, who scored and set up his side’s goal respectively, and insisted he was far from despondent with how his team performed.

“They were unbelievable,” he said. “They are just starting their Celtic careers. Liel is 19-years-old and this is Jota’s first real crack at regular senior football. With that comes responsibility. I thought they were both outstanding and both could have had a couple of goals. 

“Obviously, the result is very disappointing. In terms of the effort the players put in and the chances we created, it certainly warranted us getting the points. But in the end unfortunately we couldn't put the ball in the back of the net.

“The players are disappointed, but as I said to them, the result is on me. They have had three games in a week and right to the end there they were still giving everything and still creating chances.

“I couldn't praise them high enough for the efforts they put in. Okay, we didn't get the win that we wanted but they gave everything they could.”