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POSTECOGLOU RATES ‘TOUGH’ GERS

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ANGE POSTECOGLOU is looking for a belated birthday present of three points from Dundee United at Tannadice this afternoon after turning 57 yesterday.

Jack Ross’ strugglers go into the meeting against the champions on the back of a 7-0 thrashing from AZ Alkmaar, a 4-1 trouncing from Hearts at Tynecastle and a 3-0 flop at home to St Mirren.

A win for Celtic will retore their two-point advantage over Rangers who enjoyed a 4-0 romp against Ross County at Ibrox yesterday with Antonio Colak (2), John Lundstram and Steven Davis on target.

That would set up another titanic Glasgow derby at Parkhead on Saturday which could give the Hoops the opportunity to go five points clear – or the visitors taking over top spot with both sides having played six games.

Postecoglou admits he anticipates his city rivals to be just as strong in the title race this time around, despite selling pivotal figures Joe Aribo to Southampton and left-back Calvin Bassey to Ajax during the summer.

The Greek-Australian gaffer acknowledged: “Rangers have had a turnover of players, which they haven’t had in the last three pre-seasons when they were building a team.

“Bassey and Aribo were significant players for them and they have brought in some who have started pretty positively.

“Irrespective of that, they are going to be tough opposition for us. The games were pretty tight last year and I think they will be the same this season.

“From our perspective, we have to make sure leading into that game we are in good form and feeling positive about things. We need to make sure we reach the levels we know we can.

“When we play at our best, we’re hard to stop, irrespective of who we are playing against.”

Postecoglou could also be involved in some more wheeling and dealing in the transfer market before the midnight deadline on Thursday.

Winger Sead Haksabanovic sealed his cut-price £1.7million arrival from Rubin Kazan during the week to become the champions’ eighth signing in the manager’s third window.

Postecoglou, speaking to the Sunday Mail, added: “I’d be very surprised if anyone wants to leave this place at the moment.

“We’ll see how the next few days go. There’s the possibility of a couple of outgoings.

 “And that could give us the opportunity to bring another one in. But there’s nothing fixed. If the right opportunity came along, we might add one more.
“If we don’t – I’m happy with the business we’ve done. It was great to get Sead finally done. I’m pleased to get a player who will fit in well with us.

“He’s only 23, but already has great experience with clubs and at international level. He’ll be a great asset for us.”

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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