Ange Postecoglou bristled at queries over whether defender Cameron Carter-Vickers may need to undergo surgery.

A report earlier this week stated the Celtic centre-back’s season could be brought to an early end due to a knee problem. Carter-Vickers did not feature in last weekend’s win over Kilmarnock, albeit Postecoglou clarified afterwards that he was not risked having previously had issues playing on Rugby Park’s artificial surface.

The Celtic manager did reveal that Jota, Reo Hatate, James Forrest and Liel Abada are not yet ready to return ahead of today’s home match versus Motherwell, but that Carter-Vickers will play and – ‘if he gets through’ – will remain available for April 30’s Scottish Cup semi-final meeting with Rangers.

“Mate, he is playing tomorrow,” Postecoglou insisted. “That's where it begins and ends. I can't predict the future. If he gets through to tomorrow, he'll play next week. That's how it is.

“The only reason he didn’t play at Kilmarnock was the pitch, which I had mentioned. He didn’t recover too well the last time we played on the artificial surface, so we left him out. But he’s been training and will play.

“The others, Jota, Reo, James and Liel, haven’t had a full week of training and won’t feature.

“They are close but we will wait for them to get more training in before putting them back in. They are all back training now and we will see how they go after the weekend.”

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Postecoglou also rejected the idea of wrapping key players in cotton wool this weekend, with a trip to Hampden on the horizon. Celtic have a significant 12-point cushion at the Premiership summit with six games remaining.

They continue to push towards an eighth treble in the club’s history, but their manager is adamant he will not take one eye away from league business until they are confirmed champions.

“I have two eyes and they are fixed firmly on what is most important - and that’s Motherwell,” Postecoglou said. “We still have a title to win, we haven’t won that yet and anything beyond this weekend is not on my radar.”