Postecoglou: Celtic will be primed for their Champions League assault

New manager aiming to add to the list of famous European nights at Parkhead

New Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou faces FC Midtjylland in his first competitive game in charge. Photograph: Yokohama F Marinos/PA

New Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou faces FC Midtjylland in his first competitive game in charge. Photograph: Yokohama F Marinos/PA

 

Ange Postecoglou has vowed Celtic will be fully prepared for the start of their Champions League assault next month.

The new Hoops boss has yet to touch down in Glasgow, despite having being appointed last week.

Having given up his job with Yokohama F Marinos to take on the Parkhead role, the Greek-born Australian will also have quarantine requirements to fulfil upon his arrival from Japan.

And all the while the clock is ticking down to his first game in charge against Danish outfit Midtjylland in the Champions League second qualifying round in less than five week’s time on July 20th.

But the former Socceroos head coach is refusing to panic and insists he has already started work on reshaping the squad he inherited from Neil Lennon from afar.

And he has promised to do all he can to ensure his opening night goes without a hitch.

“I’ve been hard at work already and it’s been great to connect with everyone at the club and get to know everyone,” he told the Celtic View podcast. “I’m keen to hit the ground running and try to get as much work done before I get there.

“But my own view is that we can’t be more prepared than what we are at the moment in terms of the conditions we’ve had to face.

“I’m fully confident that once I hit the ground, we’ll get started and I’m really excited about the fact that we’ve got something to look forward to and a bit of a target there over the next four or five weeks.

“The work’s already started, to be fair. A lot of the lads, the staff at the club, are already putting plans in place. I’m talking to them daily so they kind of know how I want us to work.

“There’s a lot of work been done already and certainly, in the first few days, the staff there are really keen to set the new tone and the agenda that I’ve got.

“So I think the players will feel a difference straight away, but, obviously, for me, the real impact will come when I get there and I can talk to people.

“The target is that first Champions League game, but we’ve got a lot of work to do before that. We’ve got some fantastic friendly fixtures and warm-up games to prepare for that, and training as well, which will be the key part for us.”

Celtic have not reached the group stages of Europe’s premier competition since 2018 and another false start would put Postecoglou under immediate pressure.

But the new boss is keen to add his name to the roster of Parkhead bosses who have masterminded special European nights at Celtic Park.

He said: “It’s obviously a very significant fixture for us and it comes pretty early. It’s exciting for me, for the players and the whole club.

“It gives us a target now that the pre-season is about to start and I’m looking forward to it. Those great nights in Europe are what Celtic are all about so hopefullywe can create more magic this year.”

Postecoglou is already familiar with the Danes.

Australia international Awer Mabil currently stars on the wing for Bo Henriksen’s Wolves, while former Celt Erik Sviatchenko, reportedly a leading contender to be Postecoglou’s first signing at Parkhead, is the club’s captain.

Postecoglou added: “I know Awer well. He’s a fantastic young man and a great talent. He’s been there for quite a while and because of that I know the club quite well. I’ve followed his progress and the club’s progress, and it’ll be great to see him again because, as I said, he’s a great young talent.

“And the Celtic supporters will welcome big Erik as well, so it’ll be a great fixture.”

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