Celtic's battalion of Japanese players will face a tense World Cup showdown in North Korea later this season after being paired together just a day after their government warned about the threat posed to their national security.

The Hoops have five Japanese players in their squad - Kyoko Furuhashi, Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda, Tomoki Iwata and Yuki Kobayashi, with Yosuke Ideguchi out on loan in his homeland. All have been capped apart from Kobayashi.

FIFA completed their World Cup draw this week for the Asian qualifiers and Japan face the secretive state of North Korea, who pulled out of the last qualifiers but have now returned, as well as Syria and Myanmar or Macau.

But the draw has caused concern in Japan after their government insisted North Korea are now a bigger military threat to its national security than ever before.

They stated: "North Korea's military activities pose an even more grave and imminent threat to Japan's national security than ever.

"It is believed that North Korea has the ability to attack Japan with nuclear weapons fitted to ballistic missiles."

And Japan boss Hajime Moriyasu said after the draw: "The road to the World Cup is never easy and this is a particularly challenging one.

"For the players, the accumulation of fatigue due to long-distance travel during the season, the tight schedule without enough time to adjust and opponents with strong motivation make it difficult to overcome these challenges, but I have confidence in them to do that."

Celtic's South Korean stars face a possible exhausting 7,500-miles trip from Glasgow to the Pacific outpost of Guam, if they beat Singapore in a play-off, after they were paired together with them in the drop, along with games against China and Thailand.

And Scottish football's host of Socceroos could play in the Maldives, if they beat Bangladesh in a play-off along with Palestine and Lebanon.