GIVEN Ange Postecoglou’s insistence that Celtic won’t be getting the violins out at any stage this season, it would be quite the change of tune if the club were to request the postponement of their upcoming fixtures due to players being away on international duty.

Tom Rogic is certain to be called up by Australia, meaning he will miss the games against Hearts at Tynecastle next Wednesday, Dundee United at Celtic Park next Saturday, and most notably, the crunch game against Rangers on February 2nd.

Of their Japanese players, Kyogo would have surely been called up by Japan for their own fixtures during this period, but his ongoing injury problems may mean he misses those games in any case.

It remains to be seen whether Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda or Yosukue Ideguchi will be called upon by Japanese head coach Hajime Moriyasu, though the first two names on that list may very well be asked to answer the call for their nation’s crucial World Cup qualifiers against China and Saudi Arabia.

That would leave Celtic in a position where they could feasibly request a postponement of the three fixtures listed above under the SPFL rulebook, thus creating a fixture headache for the league - and for themselves too – further down the line.

Rule G7 states that clubs can request the postponement of “any official match where three or more of its players who would otherwise have participated in such match are unavailable through international selection and, following receipt of such an application, the board may postpone and rearrange the relevant official match in accordance with rule G3”.

It is a possible course of action that has brooked little sympathy from Rangers supporters, predictably. Though they may be a little more receptive to the notion now that star striker Alfredo Morelos has earned a surprise recall by Colombia after his fine recent form, and will also miss the match.

The anger of those Rangers supporters over the possible delay of the Old Firm fixture raised a wry smile considering their own club had a League One home match against Forfar Athletic postponed back in 2013, owing to the absence of Arnold Peralta, Lee Wallace, Lewis MacLeod and Fraser Aird, but these are different times.

That does show though that just because you can request postponements, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you should. And I say that as someone who was very much in favour of the winter break being brought forward to avoid the worst of the Covid restrictions that were brought into place in Scotland over the Christmas period.

The difference then was that the postponement of fixtures made sense from a fans’ perspective, and ensured that supporters had the best possible chance of seeing their team play by avoiding crowd curbs. Though, of course, there were those who saw ulterior motives at play, saying the decision had been made simply to favour Celtic, who had a rather lengthy injury list at the time.

Why nine other clubs would vote in favour of bringing forward the break for that reason was never explained, but what is true is that all of the clubs who backed the move knew that the pay-off was possible fixture congestion down the line.

There is now little to no room for manoeuvre when it comes to the fixture windows that remain this season, and it is why a postponement of games out of personal interest now would be hugely problematic.

Given Celtic manager Postecoglou’s consistent ‘no excuses’ clarion call throughout the campaign to date, such a move would fly in the face of that ethos, but the words of his friend and current Australia boss Graham Arnold this week may open up the possibility that Postecoglou would seek to put games back after all.

“He’s a winner,” said Arnold. “I think that’s one of the strengths of the Australian mentality, is winning at all cost.”

If Postecoglou believes that putting back the Old Firm game – as he would technically be justified in doing if at least three of his players were called away on international duty – gives his team the best chance of winning, there will be plenty of people who believe he should do just that.

But then that stock phrase crops up again as Arnold continues: “Having that winning mentality and passing that down to the players…no excuses.”

A long-term acquaintance of Postecoglou like Arnold will certainly know his mind better than any reporter who only gets to speak to him in a group session a couple of times a week, but what even a hack like me can glean from his utterances to the press is that he isn’t a man who shies from a battle.

He was cagey when asked about the issue earlier this month, saying: “I’m not going to worry about that. We’ll plan as we always have, that when we lose our players to international duty we’ll crack on and play the games we need to play.

“At the moment, there’s no point even thinking about that. As it stands, none of the players have been selected, so until that happens….we’ll look at it then.”

If I was a betting man, I would suggest that asking for a postponement of fixtures is still the last thing on Postecoglou’s mind.

Or to put it in a way that he might; No violins, mate, let’s just face the music.