Celtic ready to welcome back World Cup stars for Aberdeen trip

The champions will be close to full strength when the Premiership resumes next week,

Celtic ready to welcome back World Cup stars for Aberdeen trip SNS Group

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou will re-integrate several of his World Cup stars in time for them to face Aberdeen on Saturday.

Croatia right-back Josip Juranovic faces a semi-final against Argentina on Tuesday and is aiming to be involved in the final on Sunday, after the cinch Premiership season resumes.

But with Japan, the United States and Australia all exiting in the last 16 in Qatar, Celtic will be close to full strength for the trip to Pittodrie.

Postecoglou told Celtic TV: “It will definitely be a positive experience for all our boys, they’ve all done well at the World Cup.

“They’ve all played meaningful minutes and they’ve all been really strong contributors to their countries and, when you do that at a World Cup, absolutely you come back with a little bit more belief in yourself.

“We will get Aaron Mooy, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Daizen Maeda back early this week and Alistair Johnston joins us, so it will be good to have them back into the group.”

The bulk of the first-team squad finished a training camp in Portugal with a 4-3 friendly defeat by Rennes on Saturday, as they look to build on the nine-point lead they engineered in the first part of the season.

“We’ve just got to keep improving our football and progressing,” Postecoglou said. “It’s a tough first game away to Aberdeen, but we’ve had a good week here and have another week at Lennoxtown to get the boys ready and we will be ready for it.”

The Celtic manager will have his captain, Callum McGregor, available for the trip north following more than two months out with a knee injury. The midfielder played 78 minutes against Rennes.

McGregor said: “To get back to full training, play and get back in after a long period off with the injury, it was just good to be back on the pitch and in about the boys.

“It’s been vital (the camp), I’ve been trying to work as hard as I can and run as hard as I can and try and get as fit as possible for the games when we go back.

“That was the point of the week to try and get as much physical work into the lads as possible, and that will be beneficial when we get back.

“You can’t replicate that, as soon as you go into a match scenario everything becomes a lot more competitive and as much as we try and keep the training levels as competitive as we can you just can’t replicate the games.

“It was good just to get back amongst bodies and get myself moving and get used to the spaces again.”

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