ANGE POSTECOGLOU is preparing to take Celtic to play in a four-team tournament in Australia at the end of November.
The Hoops will utilise the five-week domestic break during the World Cup 2022 Finals in Qatar to maintain the fitness levels of their players.
Postecoglou, who was born in Athens and spent the first five years of his life in the Greek capital before the family emigrated, has helped raise the profile of the club which was already high Down Under.
The competition – with the other three participating sides still to be named – will be welcomed by the manager ahead of the resumption of competitive football in the middle of December.
Postecoglou said: “I haven’t been home for almost three years by the time this comes around so I’m super-excited.
“The club’s obviously been down there a couple of times before and I know just how passionate the Celtic fans are about the football club, so we’re looking forward to it.
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT…Ange Postecoglou explains two dropped points to Hibs in Edinburgh.
“It is a homecoming in many respects. That’s where my roots are, that’s where I grew up and I know that since I’ve been in this position at Celtic, people have been following my journey, whether they know me or not, and I’ll have a great sense of pride going back to Australia as manager of Celtic.
“It will be special. The club’s always had a strong connection with Australia and I know how passionate the supporters’ groups are down there and how they follow the club, whether that’s been with Tommy Rogic or Scotty McDonald, or Jackson Irvine – people who have passed through the club – and now I am manager of the club.
“And I think the Australian public in general will take great pride that one of theirs is in charge of such a famous club.”
Postecoglou, speaking to the club website, added: “We just want to represent this football club and what it’s all about. I’ve understood the responsibility I have for it since I’ve taken on the role, but I just know how passionate people are and the first thing is they’ll want to get to a ground and watch the team play, just to have that feeling.
“We all know what the Celtic support is like and that’s not just here at Celtic Park. We’ve felt it on away trips in Europe and people will see that, back in Australia, they’re just as passionate.
WIZARD OF OZ…Tom Rogic could be on World Cup duty with Australia when Celtic head Down Under in November.
“It’s enormously important because I don’t take for granted the distance between here and back home. You need to understand that, for people to be that passionate about a football club that’s halfway around the world – most of them are watching our games in the middle of the night.
“So, for them to be able to share it with other people that they follow this club with and watch the team live will be a special moment for them.
“And it will create, I think, a unique atmosphere which only a Celtic crowd can provide. So, for Australia sporting followers, they’re realise it’s something special.
“Just being back on home soil and bringing this great football club to my shores will be special.”
Of a more immediate nature, Postecoglou is now getting his players ready for the crucial Premiership encounter with St Mirren at Parkhead tomorrow night.
David Turnbull, who is still on the crocked list, thumped in a hat-trick when the teams met earlier in the season in Glasgow. The Hoops romped to a 6-0 victory on that occasion, but had to settle for a goalless draw in the last fixure in Paisley just before Christmas.