Postecoglou following Champions League draw: “I’m keen to hit the ground running”

Ange Postecoglou

Ange Postecoglou now knows his first competitive game as Celtic manager following yesterday’s UEFA Champions League draw, with the Scottish side set to face Danish outfit FC Midtjylland in the second qualifying round of the tournament.

The first leg is scheduled for Celtic Park on Tuesday, July 20 (KO 19:45), with the away leg taking place in Denmark on Wednesday, July 28 (KO 18:45 CPT), and the Celtic manager is looking forward to the ties.

Speaking exclusively to the Celtic View podcast, the Greek-Australian manager 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 hopefully we can create more magic this year,” Postecoglou said.

FC Midtjylland have a familiar figure in their ranks for Celtic fans, defender Erik Sviatchenko.

Postecoglou is well aware of the Danish side, given that Australian internationalist, Awer Mabil, plays for them.

“I know Awer well. He’s a fantastic young man and a great talent,” said the Celtic manager.

“He’s been there for quite a while and because of that I know the club quite well,” Postecoglou said, adding: “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,” the manager added.

Before that vital European tie, the Celtic manager is looking forward to checking in at Lennoxtown soon and kicking off the squad’s pre-season preparations in earnest.

But the groundwork has already started, with the new boss in daily communication with coaching staff to start implementing his plans and ideas.

“I’ve been hard at work already and it’s been great to connect with everyone at the club and get to know everyone,” Postecoglou said.

“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,” Postecoglou concluded.

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