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Pictured- Celtic arrive in Japan for double-header

The Celtic squad has arrived in Japan ahead of two friendly matches that will give supporters their first look at how Brendan Rodgers is shaping the side.

It was familiar territory for some of the squad as they arrived at Narita International Airport following a 10 hour flight from London.

With a plus eight hour time difference the squad is likely to be going to bed soon after arrival with Tuesday a day for acclimatisation ahead of their first match, against Yokohama F Marinos on Wednesday evening which will kick off at 11am Celtic Park Time.

When that match was arranged it was another ‘homecoming’ for Ange Postecoglou but following his move to Spurs responsibility now falls on Brendan Rodgers as fans get their first look at the side after two Closed Doors friendlies against Portimonense.

Daizen Maeda and Tomiki Iwata will be on familiar territory after following Postecoglou on the journey from Yokohama to Glasgow.

Although it is pre-season time for Celtic the Marinos are in mid-season, after 21 matches in the J-League they are in second place, three points behind leaders Vissel Kobe after suffering back-to-back home defeats.

Any team managed by Kevin Muscat is bound to have a bit of bite with the former Millwall defender into his third year in charge of the club after taking over from Postecoglou. Following the Celtic friendly the Marinos take on Manchester City on Sunday.

Celtic will be on their way back home by then, playing the second match of their trip of Saturday against Gamba Osaka who are in 13th place in the 18 team league.

On Saturday Celtic’s social media team provided goal flashes from the second Portimonense friendly followed by clips of the goals but the two match trip to Japan will be covered in depth with both matches live on Celtic TV.

With three current Japanese internationalists in the squad and two other imports there is bound to be a lot of local media attention on the Scottish champions.

Some commercial activities are expected but with less than three weeks to go until the start of the SPFL the matches take on greater importance as the ‘new’ manager assesses his squad.

Jota and Aaron Mooy have been lost from last season’s squad while the injuries to Alistair Johnston and Cameron Carter-Vickers will put a spotlight on the depth of defensive cover.

So far just two new signings have been confirmed- Odin Thiago Holm and Marco Tilio but from Korea there are very strong signs that Kwon Hyeok-Kyu and Yang Hyun-jun are Celtic bound, even to the extent of their thank you notes from Buson Ipark and Gangwon on social media.

Over the weekend Rodgers spoke about cutting the numbers in his squad, after taking around 30 players to Portugal last week a smaller squad is likely in Japan.

Albian Ajeti, Ismaila Soro, Liam Shaw and Osaze Urhoghide didn’t make the cut to the Algarve training camp with Rodgers knowing that his 25 man squad for the Champions League will have to include four players that have come through the Celtic Academy and four others that were trained by Scottish clubs.

Callum McGregor, James Forrest, Tony Ralston and Stephen Welsh meet the first criteria with Greg Taylor, David Turnbull, Scott Bain and the rarely seen James McCarthy the SFA trained players. After that just 17 other players can be registered as well as younger u-21 players such as Rocco Vata and Ben Summers.

Rodgers and some players are likely to be involved in some media work on Tuesday to promote Wednesday’s match.

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