REO HATATE will miss Celtic’s trip to face Ross County this afternoon, with the midfielder struggling to shake off knocks he picked up in last week’s opening day win over Aberdeen.

The Japanese international had been in fine form throughout pre-season, but had to be substituted during the 2-0 victory last week after being on the receiving end of some hefty challenges from his opponents.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou doesn’t expect though that he will be without Hatate for any considerable period.

“It’s all good, apart from Reo,” Postecoglou said. “He got a couple of knocks last week and a bit of a muscle strain so we held him back this week for a bit of rehab.

“There were a couple of hard tackles and some clashes didn’t come out of too well. He will miss this game but everyone else [that played] is okay. 

“We have the luxury of having the squad now that means we don’t need to risk players or push players too much.

“We have no midweek games right now so we can give them the rehab, be conservative with them and get them right.”

The game will also come too soon for defender Carl Starfelt, who has re-joined full training after recovering from a hamstring injury, but is still some way short of full fitness. Stephen Welsh, who scored the opening goal against Aberdeen last week, is likely to continue in his stead.

“Carl is back training and did the full week, but he’s obviously missed a fair bit,” Postecoglou added.

“It’s just about getting him a game now but that will happen over the next two to three weeks.

“We will get him game-time and get him up to speed, but we have depth and there is no need to rush him back.

“We will get him a good block of training, some game-time and get him ready.”