“WE’RE going early on being linked with players,” Ange Postecoglou said last month when quizzed about Celtic’s reported interest in Japanese forward Daizen Maeda. “There’s two months before now and January.” Welcome to Glasgow.

The only thing as predictable as the Celtic manager having to field questions this early about potential signings in the winter window was his straight-bat response to those enquiries.

What was also predictable were the noises that have been coming from the Japanese market Postecoglou is so acquainted with regarding players that Celtic have apparently registered an interest in, with Reo Hatate the latest name rumoured to be following in the footsteps of Kyogo and making the move to the club from the Far East.

Just as with the question he fielded over Maeda a few weeks ago, Postecoglou responded to a query over whether the versatile Hatate – who can play as a left-back or in midfield – would be of interest in January by again dusting off the willow and showing the sort of adept deflection that compatriot Don Bradman would have been proud of.

“There will be plenty of names before January,” Postecoglou responded. “We are working towards then and we know what we need.”

The one thing that Postecoglou does want to make clear though is that there will be far more method in Celtic’s January transfer dealings compared to the madness of the summer window, where his delayed arrival left him with precious little time to perform the sort of major surgery that was required on his squad.

Given the haste at which Postecoglou was required to move players out and get replacements in, his strike rate has been more than decent.

Carl Starfelt has improved after a slow start, Cameron Carter-Vickers has impressed, Joe Hart has brought much-needed experience and leadership while Liel Abada, Jota and Kyogo have been electrifying up top.

The jury may still be out a little on Josip Juranovic, who is playing out of position at left-back, as well as Giorgos Giakoumakis and James McCarthy, who have both struggled for fitness and game-time, but Postecoglou’s summer business has whetted the Celtic support’s appetite for what he may be able to achieve with a little more lead time.

“We want to make sure we are well organised long before then, so we are going to identify targets and we will be talking to quite a few,” he said. “But we are not negotiating or got close to signing anyone at the moment.

“There will be plenty of people putting their name forward because I think this is an attractive destination at the moment.

“We are just focused on being organised in January.”

Part of that planning for January will focus not on the transfer market, but on getting his players away for the sort of bonding experience they were denied in pre-season due to the late arrival of so many of his current squad.

When Celtic went to Wales for their summer training camp, they travelled largely with a collection of injured players, several who were soon to be moving on, and a large contingent from the youth set-up.

The Celtic manager is pleased at the bonds his men have managed to forge on home soil since the core of his squad eventually took shape, but he is excited at the prospect of getting in some warm-weather training to allow them a further chance to get acquainted.

“We are planning for that now and we will certainly have some sort of camp,” he said. “It will give the boys a bit of a break.

“We just assembled this group of people together without really being able to settle them and create a real settled culture and environment with the football we want to play.

“A week’s training will be like gold for us and we will certainly use that time, but there is a lot of football to be played before then.”