ANGE Postecoglou has revealed that he hopes to have strengthened his Celtic squad with new signings by the time the Parkhead club return to training after the rescheduled winter break next month.

Postecoglou has been missing several first team regulars in recent weeks – Albian Ajeti, James Forrest, Kyogo Furuhashi, Georgios Giakoumakis, Jota, David Turnbull and long-term absentee Christopher Jullien have all been sidelined by injuries.

The Greek-Australian felt the 0-0 draw his men were held to by St Mirren in Paisley on Wednesday night – a result which means they now trail leaders Rangers by six points in the cinch Premiership – underlined that he needs greater strength in depth.

He has been working with the Celtic recruitment staff on bringing in some fresh faces and is keen to have them tied up before the top flight in Scotland – which will be shut down for three weeks after the Boxing Day matches following a decision by the SPFL in midweek – restarts on January 17.  

“Obviously now we know there is some certainty around fixtures and when our first game back is, we will come up with a plan,” he told Sky Sports.

“Hopefully we will get some of our guys who are injured back on the training pitch, which would be great, and also bring in a few.

 “We are still with the intent of trying to bring them early and if we can. From my perspective, it would be ideal if we can get them in from when we restart training and give them a bit of lead into the second half of the year.” 

Postecoglou added: “It's challenging, but I don't think I'll go through another transfer period like the first one, we had to bring in 12, that was something unique. 

"This time I can be a bit more measured. We have been working at it a lot longer, we kind of know what we want, but it's still a challenge because it's not an exact science. Hopefully we get them in, we get the ones we want in and get them in early." 

The winter break has been brought forward at the request of the majority of Premiership clubs after the Scottish government capped crowds at outdoor events at 500 due to rising Covid-19 cases.

Postecoglou confirmed that Celtic would not be travelling abroad for a warm weather training camp – unlike last season when a trip to Dubai caused a storm of controversy and resulted in 13 players and their then manager Neil Lennon having to go into quarantine.  

Asked if an overseas jaunt had been ruled out, he said: "Yeah, I just think we will do our work here. It makes sense. We have to use our time wisely and we don't want to put unnecessary risk on our players, or the club.

"It's valuable time we have to get the team up and ready for the second part of the year. I think it makes sense to stay here. We will look at it after St Johnstone and adjust our schedule accordingly after that, now we have certainty. We will do some planning and make sure we use the break well."

Postecoglou’s immediate priority, though, is getting back to winning ways against bottom-placed St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on Sunday.  

"The draw doesn't change anything,” he said. “We all represent this football club. That's the expectation at Celtic, that you go into every game to win.

"We didn't do that against St Mirren. They are disappointed and they should be. But we will get on with it.

"We will pick ourselves up and get ready for St Johnstone. We need to make sure we bounce back. We have a couple of players who might be close to coming back for it, but we'll need to see."

He added: "I have always been used to having games at this time of the year. Summer sport in Australia is a big thing - the key word being summer! That makes a big difference.

“Football is pretty big at this time of year back home. Even when I was playing we switched to a summer season pretty early on.

"I am used to having football at this time, although in Japan the season actually finished in December. That was the only time, apart from when I was national team manager, when I have had Christmas off.

"I've trained on Christmas Day, New Year's eve, New Year's day and also had games around this time in the past. It's nothing unusual for me. If my wife found me home for any extended period at this time, she'd find it strange!"