CELTIC will return to action in the cinch Premiership on Monday night when they host Hibernian at Celtic Park.

With the return of full stadiums confirmed, it promises to be quite the spectacle under the disco lights at Parkhead.

Both teams have had sufficient time to come up for air after a festive season stuffed with Covid curveballs and a packed fixture schedule – not least Hibs whose postponed games against Ross County and Livingston were shoehorned into an already bursting sackful of encounters – including their Premier Sports Cup final defeat against Monday night's opponents.

That Hampden showdown offered the unusual spectacle of former Easter Road skipper David Gray patrolling the technical area on the club's behalf, after the capital club had moved to sack manager Jack Ross following a poor run of form during that hectic period.

Since then, it has been all change at Hibs – Shaun Maloney, the former Celtic and Scotland forward who was No.2 to Roberto Martinez at the Belgium national team, taking over the reins.

Maloney has started brightly with two wins in as many matches before the early onset of the winter break on Boxing Day, and has added a fresh impetus along with new faces in Leith.

In comes Belgium Under-21 internationalist Rocky Bushiri, Harry Clarke, Ewan Henderson (from Celtic) and Elias Melkerson. Chris Mueller and Dylan Tait will also be available for selection when the season starts up again next week.

It will be an intriguing sight to see the diminutive former Parkhead favourite in the away dugout at Celtic Park wearing another club's insignia.

But it's not just Hibs who have been busy in the transfer window thus far. Celtic, too, are a team still in the process of a complete overhaul since the summer appointment of Ange Postecoglou. After a fairly inauspicious start, where Celtic were knocked out of the Champions League at the qualifying stage and suffered early league defeats to Hearts, Rangers and Livingston, the Greek-Australian looks to have won over supporters with his unique brand of attacking football that he has managed to couple with far meaner defensive displays,

He also appears to have convinced his board – not least the arrival of J-League top-scorer Kyogo Furuhashi from Vissell Kobe. The Japanese forward has been a revelation at Parkhead, scoring 16 times in his first 32 matches. That success has led to the virtual invasion in the east end of Glasgow from Japan's top flight: Daizen Maeda, Yosuke Ideguchi and Reo Hatate all joining at the commencement of the January transfer window.

Celtic's biggest weakness this season has been a general lack of squad depth – an area that has helped their city rivals in recent seasons as they've fought on domestic and European fronts.

With long-term absentees like Christopher Jullien and James Forrest, as well as injury spells for the talismanic Kyogo, it has looked a touch piecemeal at times in Postecoglou's starting line-ups, let alone those occupying the substitutes' bench.

These early reinforcements, although in the form of three relative unknowns in Scottish football, are all familiar to former Yokohama F Marinos manager Postecoglou. If they can reach anything like the heights countryman Kyogo has in his start in Glasgow then they could prove to be valuable additions.

Will it be enough to catch Scottish champions and league leaders Rangers though, whom Celtic trail by six points?

Much will depend on these early games back after the break, not least the Old Firm at Celtic Park on February 2.

While Celtic, like Hibs, have been undergoing overhauls, the arrival at Ibrox of former midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhorst as the man to replace Steven Gerrard as manager has had a steadying effect.

But is this at the risk of providing a stagnating effect? It was clear at the outset of the season some of Rangers' senior players were possibly in danger of passing their best – goalkeeper Allan McGregor is now 39 years old, midfielder Steven Davis, 37, and Scott Arfield, 33 – while question marks over the commitment of near ever-present Connor Goldson, whose contract expires in the summer, remain unanswered.

Jermain Defoe, 39, was one who fit into the ageing and contract-expiring bracket, and his decision to leave to Ibrox club this week after talks with Van Bronckhorst suggest the direction of traffic the Dutchman will be looking to conduct in this area.

But Rangers have also lost their most exciting and promising talent in right-back Nathan Patterson, who was a rich luxury as back-up to club captain James Tavernier at right-back, after the Scotland internationalist was snapped up by Everton earlier this month,

It remains to be seen if the likes of Hearts' John Souttar can be brought in to help freshen up the Ibrox dressing-room, but with the league restarting in a matter of days, time is not on Van Bronkchorst's side.

Two teams who have made strides in the transfer department this month are Celtic and Hibernian, and Monday night's clash could go a long way to setting the tone for the second half of the Premiership season.

It is shaping up to be an intriguing encounter for both clubs and those around them who will be watching with a keen interest.