ANGE POSTECOGLOU is hardly the first manager to complain about the hectic festive fixture list, and he certainly won’t be the last. What he is finding though, as all those who have gone before him did too, is that there is very little he can do about it.

What has made this December period even trickier for Celtic though is that their players are currently dropping like flies, particularly with hamstring injuries, an issue for which Postecoglou takes on some of the responsibility. Kyogo is the latest player affected, with Albian Ajeti also pulling up against Real Betis on Thursday night, and winger Jota being forced off the previous week against Hearts.

The intensity of his training and the way that Celtic play, allied to the number of games they are being asked to navigate in such a condensed period, has proven something of an imperfect storm for Celtic, but as he counted the cost of the win over Betis Postecoglou was also heartened by a quality in his players that may prove invaluable over this stretch of games; resilience.

The depth of the squad may not be anywhere near where Postecoglou would like it to be - an issue he will address in January - but those within it showed they have the depth of character to grind out that victory, and the Celtic manager thinks that could be a good sign as they will be asked to go to the well time and again in the next few weeks.

“I don’t dismiss it when you win a European game,” Postecoglou said. “We have won three in this group against some tough opposition.

“Real Betis beat Barcelona last weekend and anyone who watched this match would see how much they wanted to win it. They threw everything at us.

“It’s a good sign for us. Apart from our football, there was desire and character in the team to be successful and create some special moments. Nights like this help that.

“There is a real resilience within this group. Maybe that got questioned earlier in the year but you can see now that whatever’s thrown at them, they are finding ways to win games of football.

“I said to the boys ‘just go out and play this game as a Celtic team would in a European tie.’

“You could see what it means. They weren’t lying down, they went for us at the end. They wanted to win the game too. It ended up being a fantastic European fixture.

“It was great for our guys, a great experience for them. But also getting the rewards if you put in the hard work.

“It’s challenging [the fixture list], no doubt. Particularly for us as a team who are not yet robust enough as a squad. We don’t have the experienced bodies to cope with this kind of fixturing, particularly with the games we have got.

“But we will work our way through it, showing the same resilience we showed against Betis, and hopefully in January we get some reinforcements in.”

Some of those players who gave their all to seize their opportunity against Betis may well be given another chance to do so against Motherwell at Celtic Park tomorrow, though it is expected that most of Celtic’s first-choice players will return to the team.

Those left out though shouldn’t be disheartened according to Postecoglou, with the likelihood being they will be pressed into action again soon enough given the number of games that lie ahead before the winter break.

Two such players who came in from the cold - well, Siberia - on Thursday night were Sheffield Wednesday pair Osaze Urhoghide and Liam Shaw, with both players making their first competitive starts for the club after arriving in Glasgow in the summer.

Neither is expected to make the side for tomorrow, with Josip Juranovic coming back into the line-up at right-back and the first-choice midfield of captain Callum McGregor, Tom Rogic and David Turnbull practically nailed-on to start after their masterclass in the win at Tannadice last Sunday.

Their performances though have certainly done them no harm in the wider context of their careers at Celtic though, with Postecoglou delighted with the way they handled the occasion.

“It was great for them,” he said.

“They work hard in training every day and it’s a hard thing for a footballer to stay motivated when you work hard, you’re not injured but you’re not playing.

“But we tell them that’s why we keep pushing them because, eventually, an opportunity will come. What you want to do when they come is be ready.

“Credit to both of those boys and Liam Scales. It showed that if they keep working hard at training, when their opportunities come they will be able to take them.”