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POSTECOGLOU WELCOMES LAWWELL, WARNS GIAKOUMAKIS, GREETS KOBAYASHI

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CELTIC boss Ange Postecoglou has welcomed the appointment of Peter Lawwell as successor to Ian Bankier.

The 63-year-old former chief executive, who left the role on June 30 last year, will return to the champions on January 1 2023 when Bankier, 70, retires.

The Hoops boss, speaking to the club website, said: “It is fantastic news for the club that Peter will be taking up the role of chairman.

“He was instrumental in bringing me to Celtic, I know the love he has for the club and I know that his wealth of experience and knowledge will be invaluable to us all as we move forward together.

“I would also like to wish Ian and his family all the very best for the future.”

BUSY BHOY…Ange Postecoglou talks to the press on first day back at training.

Postecoglou also reacted to news stating striker Giorgos Giakoumakis had rejected a contract extension and could be on his way in next month’s transfer window only 16 months after his £2.5million arrival from Dutch side VVV-Venlo.

The Greek frontman has scored 27 goals for the Hoops in all competitions and his no-nonsense manager fired a warning to his 27-year-old frontman he will take action if he sees a shift in attitude.

Asked about how he would handle the situation with Giakoumakis, Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, responded: “I don’t have those kind of discussions and what I deal with is what I see every day.

“How a player trains and presents himself here, that is what I deal with. If I see there is any shift there or people are unhappy, or have some issues, I’ll deal with it.

“Right now, all I see is the players here training and committed to us as a football club. That is all that concerns me.

HERE WE GO AGAIN…Ange Postecoglou welcomes Matt O’Riley and the Celtic players to Lennoxtown after a fortnight break.

“Beyond that, with their contracts, they have representatives who look after them. If there are any issues, they’ll come across my desk. But that is in the background.

“What’s more important to me is what I see every day. If I am happy with it, all good, if not I’ll deal with it then.”

Postecoglou has also greeted Japanese new Bhoy Yuki Kobayashi as his fifth recruit from the J-League – along with Daizen Maeda, Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi – who arrived yesterday for a month of training before his five-year contract can be sealed when the January transfer window reopens at the start of January.

The central defender from Vissel Kobe met his new team-mates at Lennoxtown yesterday and Postecoglou said: “It’s good to get Yuki in and it’s one we’ve been working on for a while and tracking.

“He’s a left-sided centre-back which is an important position in the context of how we play our football and having someone left-footed there isn’t easy to find.

JAPANESE NEW BHOY…Yuki Kobayashi on his first day at Lennoxtown.

“He has a fair bit of experience at the age of 22 and we thought it was a great opportunity for us, the fact we can bring him in now and get him settled.

“He’s one that we expect to make more of an impact as the season goes on and not one we will throw in straight away, but that depends on his progress.

“I’m really pleased to have him and I’m sure he will be great for us.”

Postecoglou is now back preparing the players for the second half of the season with the team nine points ahead in pursuit of their second successive title with the league restarting with a trip to Pittodrie to face Aberdeen a fortnight today.

Before that they will have a warm weather training HQ in Portugal where they will play French club Rennes in a closed door match a week today.

The holders will face Kilmarnock in the League Cup semi-final at Hampden on Saturday January 14 and will also play Championship side Morton when the Scottish Cup kicks off at Parkhead on the weekend of January 21/22.

Meanwhile, the Parkhead club’s Premiership visit to Tannadice to face Dundee United has been put back 24 hours to Sunday January 29 with a 4pm kick-off for Sky Sports coverage.

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Editor

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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