DURING Ange Postecoglou’s short time as Celtic manager, much has been made of his ability to spot a player who can hit the ground running. Given the sorry state of the squad he inherited, he had little margin for error if Celtic were to have any measure of success last season.

While the likes of Kyogo, Reo Hatate and Matt O’Riley excelled quickly upon their arrival in that title-winning campaign though, the summer window this term saw an increase in the number of players who took a little longer to make their mark.

Slow burners such as Sead Haksabanovic, Alexandro Bernabei and Aaron Mooy are now gradually starting to show the Celtic supporters just why Postecoglou was so keen to bring them to the club in the first place, even if finding their fitness and form in Glasgow didn’t come as easy as it did to some others.

Haksabanovic, for instance, has shown glimpses of his talent whenever he has been on the pitch, but his game-time to now has been sporadic. Even on Saturday, when he was sensational in an opening half blitz of Hibernian, he was removed at the interval to protect an ankle issue.

The effect, if not the design, of holding Haksabanovic back a little has been to tease the Celtic fans with a promise of what the Montenegrin international winger might just be capable of when he is finally up to full speed. And the frightening thing for Premiership defenders is that his manager believes there is a lot more to come.

“Sead is doing well,” Postecoglou said. “We have had the luxury of being able to ease him in, as opposed to last year when we had to throw guys in.

“He is building his fitness up and getting an understanding of our game but he’s a good footballer. We are really happy to have him here and we are excited to see what he can bring.

“Sead is still only 23 so from our perspective we were happy to get him. The best is yet to come from him - absolutely. That was one of the attractions for us when he signed him.

“We saw a player who had a great deal of experience, but in terms of his age profile and where is at in his career, there is still plenty more in him.

“We knew he could fit into the way we play and the added bonus with Sead is that he can play two or three positions. We felt we needed a player like that and we are pleased with his progress, but we also know there is more to come.

“There are always challenges when doing these things but Michael Nicholson and the rest of the guys worked hard to get it done. It wasn’t an easy deal to get it done in the current climate but from my first discussion with Sead, I knew he was all in. He definitely wanted to come to Celtic and when you get that vibe from a player, there is always a good chance the deal will get done.

“We were pleased to get it concluded.”

Bernabei is another who is starting to show glimpses of his potential after a slow start, and in his case, why Celtic felt compelled to shell out £3.75m to bring him to Scotland from Lanus in his native Argentina.

He has faced issues settling into life off the park in part because of the language barrier - and the not insignificant matter of an alleged drink-driving offence in August – as well as a challenge on it to oust the outstanding Greg Taylor from the left-back slot.

As Taylor has been given the odd break of late though in domestic matches against St Johnstone and Hibernian, Bernabei has finally looked ready to seize such opportunities.

“I am pleased for Alexandro,” Postecoglou said. “Again, he is one we are really excited about. 

“I think because of what happened last year, people probably expected us to throw new signings in straight off the plane again. But this season that was never the plan.

“I wanted to make sure we bedded them in properly, particularly Alexandro. He is 21, it’s his first time out of Argentina and I didn’t want to throw him in and overwhelm him immediately. We see a really bright future for him and we wanted to integrate him slowly.

“Alexandro has been really good in training, he wants to learn and he has a real appetite for improvement.

“We have been able to be measured but there was never any doubt in my mind that he could make an impact - and you will see that from now on.

“We have also had the luxury of not needing to throw him in, as Greg Taylor has had an outstanding season.

“We have been able to ease Alexandro in gradually. I wanted to give him time because it is a big change for him, even with the language. It’s better now but that would be a challenge for any young player coming over.

“If you throw him into a competitive environment it can be a sink or swim scenario. They may thrive immediately but I didn’t see the need to do that. I felt it was better to get him in gradually and you can see him getting better in training all the time.

“He has the respect of his team-mates and he has improved with every game he has played.

“We still have 28 league games plus cups to go, so Alexandro will play his part.”

His attacking instincts from the left-back position have particularly impressed Postecoglou.

“He has a couple of assists in his last two games and that was part of the attraction with Alexandro,” he said.

“He is exciting going forward and in the modern game, if you can get defensive players with good attacking outputs, they are great assets.

“We certainly saw that when we scouted Alexandro and we knew that he could be good for us going forward. But he’s also improving the defensive side of his game.

“We have worked closely with him and he’s taking it all on board. We see how good Alexandro has been in training and we are probably the least surprised by how he played against Hibs.

“But he’s only a young guy and there is more to come.”