Yuki Kobayashi has been backed to fill the big shoes of Cameron Carter-Vickers in his absence by his Celtic teammate Greg Taylor, in a vote of confidence for the Japanese central defender.

Carter-Vickers, an ever-present in the Hoops defence this campaign, has played his final minutes of the season, a knee operation set to keep him out for three to four months according to reports.

Taylor, however, rates Kobayashi highly and backs the January signing to make a positive impact on the team, especially beside Swedish international Carl Starfelt.

He said: “Yuki is unbelievable. Especially being on the ball on that left side with the left foot, I think it’ll also help Carl.

“Carl defends unbelievably, but it’s not easy playing the left side when he is right footed. He does outstandingly well even playing out with that, but it gives us good balance with Yuki maybe coming in as a left footer, so there is definitely more to come from us as a team.”

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Kobayashi, a U20 international for his country, officially joined Celtic from J1 League club Vissel Kobe. This move reunited the defender with striker Kyogo Furuhashi, who played with him in the Japanese outfit.

Meanwhile, Kenny Miller has dispelled the "huge gap" that currently stands between Celtic and Rangers.

The former striker insists people can become far too "obsessed" over the matter.

The Hoops are just one win away from securing their second title in a row.

If Ange Postecoglou's men defeat Hearts on Sunday afternoon, they will be crown champions of Scotland for the 53rd time. 

Michael Beale's side will end the campaign trophyless, which was confirmed after last weekend's Scottish Cup semi-final loss at the hands of Celtic.

Several pundits have this week spoken over the distance between the Glasgow giants in terms of quality and progress.

But Miller isn't having it - as he insisted next season will be far closer.

Speaking at a McDonald's Fun Football event, he told the Scottish Sun: "Some people are obsessed with the term 'the gap'.

"When I was involved in it, it was something I absolutely hated. Listen, Celtic could win 56 before Rangers win 56.

"That's clearly possible when there are only two teams that could win the league. But when I was involved in it, I absolutely hated the term 'the gap'.

"It's all some people go on about but what do they actually mean? If they're talking about a points gap then that's easy because that's black and white, you just need to look at the league table."