A nine point lead at the Premiership summit and managerial upheaval across the city - Celtic could hardly be sitting prettier in their quest for a second consecutive title.

But should any hint of complacency filter through at Parkhead, Carl Starfelt knows Ange Postecoglou will be there to shut it down.

The Swedish defender has spent most of the season watching his team-mates build that commanding advantage and is desperate to get back in the thick of it.

A knee injury sustained during the 4-0 win over Rangers in September put Starfelt on the sidelines for almost nine weeks, his return only coming earlier this month against Motherwell.

Celtic have cruised into the winter break but the centre-back isn't entertaining the notion that another title is already in the bag.

"No, absolutely not," he insisted. "There is a long season ahead and we are not even close to the halfway point, we always take it game by game like we did last season and that's what we do.

"I think we also have very high standards. The manager is always pushing us every day to never relax. You can see it in training every day and we are trying to be at it and if we fall out of it then the manager is there to push us back into it. I am not worried about complacency.

"The manager sets high standards and I think that's how it should be. Every player pushing for Celtic and more should have high standards. If you throw players excuses then they will have them. You have to go out there and perform no matter the circumstances."

Starfelt has returned to stiff competition in the shape of Moritz Jenz, who has partnered the ever-present Cameron Carter-Vickers in his absence.

But the former Rubin Kazan star is convinced that will only bring out the best in him.

"It is good," he said. "We have really good players and that makes for strong competition and not only in the centre-back positions but almost every position. That is how the manager wants it and that is how you push the players to never relax and always try to improve their game and I think that is what's happening.

"It brings out the best in every player and you can never relax as you have to be at it all the time and that is a good thing for sure. You will always have good players coming into form replacing the ones who are out of form. It is a positive."

Starfelt's September injury followed a hamstring problem that curtailed his pre-season, capping a thoroughly luckless period for the 27-year-old.

Missing Celtic's Champions League campaign was a bitter blow, but he now only has eyes for what's to come.

Starfelt said: "The preseason was tough. I thought I would get back when the season started and then obviously the second blow was really tough actually but I am back on the pitch now and I am happy about that.

"Obviously, it's tough, especially with the Champions League and missing a lot of games and that was something I was looking forward to a lot. I am just happy to be back and I am looking forward."

In between sessions, Starfelt revealed he will be backing Carter-Vickers and the USA at the World Cup.

The Americans opened their campaign against Wales last night and will next face England and Iran.

Elsewhere, Josip Juranovic is representing Croatia, Aaron Mooy is with Australia and Daizen Maeda is Japan's squad - but it's mate Carter-Vickers that Starfelt is rooting for.

He added: "It is a hard question and I will take the USA because of my big defensive pal Cameron Carter-Vickers at the back. All the Celtic players that are going have been in terrific form. Hopefully, they get to play and if they get game time I think they will do very well."