ANGE POSTECOGLOU is a man on a double mission s he prepares his Celtic squad for the vitally-important Premiership kick-off against Hearts at Tynecastle tomorrow night.
The manager is demanding a positive result AND an impressive performance after the disappointment of the midweek Champions League exit in Denmark.
Postecoglou insists his players must pick themselves up for another challenge and prove their worth as the team tries to overcome the catastrophic attempt to make history in the last campaign when they blew the chance of 10 in a row.
The former Australia international gaffer said: “Even if we’d won the other night, my view wouldn’t have changed. We need to get off to a really positive start – both with performance and result. Everyone will obviously focus on the result, but, for me, we also need to put in a strong performance.
POINTING THE WAY…Ange Postecoglou shouts instructions.
“For us, the league is where we can make the biggest impact over the course of a season. We need to be strong right from the first game, it won’t be an easy one away at Hearts, that’ll be a challenge for us, but we absolutely need to get off to a strong start.
“I know Hearts is always a good contest and we’re well-prepared – not just me, but the staff, as well. The players have all of the information we need.”
The 55-year-old coach, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “We’ve got to be prepared for this first game. I’ve got no doubt we’ll improve and I’ve got no doubt we’ll grow into the season.
“That doesn’t mean we’re going to start slowly or try to navigate our way through the early parts. We need to start strongly tomorrow, but there’s no doubt in mind that as the season goes on, we’ll get stronger and we’ll see how far that takes us.”
Winger Liel Abada is in contention for his third competitive start for the club following his £3.5million arrival which he marked with the opening goal in the 1-1 draw with FC Midtjylland last week.
Swedish defender Carl Starfelt met his new team-mates in training this morning and insists he is fit if required while Japanese striker Kyogo Furuhashi is expected in Scotland over the weekend following his quaratine period.