After watching his side confidently despatch Ross County 4-1 in the Premier Sport Cup to set up any away quarter-final against Motherwell in mid-October, he indulged in a spot of badinage when asked if the 26-year-old player, currently on special leave from Russian club Rubin Kazan, was a name he recognised.
“That’s a name, definitely a name,” he said of a player from a club Celtic have already raided for Sead Haksabanovic and Carl Starfelt. “There have been a lot of names. There are 24 hours to go, there are still some outgoings we are working on as well. We’ll see how things fall.”
An echo of a television post-match interview in which Postecoglou stated that “potentially, there could be an opportunity to bring someone in”, the speculation followed an evening in which the Celtic manager brought in a host of fringe players to negotiate a tie that will give way to Saturday’s derby with Rangers, and a Champions League opener against Real Madrid three days later.
To play the kind of football we want, if you rely on a certain core of players eventually they will break down,” said the 57-year-old, who made nine starting changes from the 9-0 battering of Dundee United and handed first starts to Aaron Mooy, Alexandro Bernabei, and Benjamin Siegrist, with Haksabanovic making his debut from the bench. “Now we are in a position where we don’t need to do that. I can rotate the team and make sure that we’ve got everyone in really good condition.”
There was one exception to that, with Stephen Welsh withdrawn early in the second period with “a bit of niggle in his groin”, according to the Celtic manager. Postecoglou’s own niggle seemed to be in the cup draw taking his team to Fir Park, meanwhile.
“Another away game, It would be nice to be at home at some point…” the Celtic manager said. “It’s another good challenge for us. The most important thing is that we’re still in it. In a cup game, that’s the ultimate aim, and it’s pleasing for me that we did that in a convincing way.”