Ange Postecoglou promised to soak up Celtic’s title party – then vowed to be even BETTER next season.
The Hoops boss held aloft the Premiership trophy after his players ended the campaign in style by beating Motherwell 6-0.
Afterwards, Postecoglou told supporters he plans to make his side even stronger.
And he’s adamant that being champions will give his players the belief to come back and do it all again.
The Celtic gaffer said: “It’s important for me to soak it all in. I’ve learned that you need to enjoy these moments.
“Managers are always thinking about the next stage.
“But I have to stop and celebrate what this group of people have achieved.
“They need to know they can enjoy it because that’s why we do it.
“Days like this will live with them forever.
“I want them to take it all in for themselves and their families, the people who make sacrifices.
“Because I’m going to ask them to do it again next year. I’m going to ask them to work twice as hard.
“They’ll need to put in even more effort and even make more sacrifices.
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“I can only ask that of them if I allow them to enjoy this.
“Whether I said we’ll be back bigger and better or not – that’s the expectations at this club.
“Let’s not kid ourselves. When we roll up for the first game next season, our supporters will expect us to play football a certain way, win and be successful.
“We have to be ready for that. That’s our responsibility while we’re at Celtic.
“And it’s the way I”m built anyway. This was the first stage.
“We’ve put in place a really strong foundation and have overcome a lot of obstacles.
“But being champions gives you more belief.
“They’ve already climbed the mountain so they know they can do it.
“It’s about allowing them to enjoy it. But if they want this feeling again, they’ll need to come back better.”
Postecoglou could barely describe his emotions as he took the adulation of the Celtic crowd at full-time yesterday.
He says he’ll take a well-earned break with his family before planning another assault on the title – and the Champions League group phase.
The Aussie said: “It’s hard to put this into words but I’ll try.
“Everyone knows the story. We’ve worked so hard and we had a real narrow focus about what we were trying to achieve this year.
“It’s great when you have that tunnel vision and finally get there.
“I’ll celebrate but it will be nothing outrageous at my age! I’ll take it easy.
“My fatherly advice to the whole group, borne through experience, is that if you want to make a night memorable then you better remember most of it.
“I have a family and I have to stop for them now.
“I want them to enjoy this moment too.
“I need to spend a bit of time with them, that’s my responsibility.
“We will go away, have a break and I’ll recharge the batteries.
“But the reality is that we’ve already started planning for next year and my responsibility is to make sure that on day one we’re ready to go again.
“What’s the next stage for this team and how do we get better? Well, 80 per cent of this squad didn’t do a pre-season.
“They either came in after it, in the winter or were injured.
“We have a lot of players like Kyogo and David Turnbull who missed big chunks of the season because we overburdened them at the start.
“We will get natural improvement because we are at a much better starting point.
“The challenge then is to keep pushing the players to be better and add to the squad to make us stronger.
“But where we start on the first day of pre-season will be way ahead of where we were when I arrived.
“I haven’t thought about Champions League nights here yet.
“When the draw comes out it will become real – but it’s going to be special. “
Everyone talks to me about Champions League nights here at Celtic Park and there is nothing like it.
“It will be bloody brilliant.”
As well as celebrating the title success yesterday, Celtic also said goodbye to two of its longest serving players in Nir Bitton and Tom Rogic.
Both were given rousing send-offs from supporters and Postecoglou praised their contribution.
He said: “They’re incredible players and incredible people. For two foreigners to stay at the football club for so long is amazing.
“They both came as young men and they’re leaving with children and a family of their own. They’ve spent their entire adult life at the club and with tremendous success.
“They went through a tough time last season. But their record speaks for itself but I can only talk about the last 12 months. They’ve been crucial for me on and off the field.
“We have to make sure we continue on a legacy of the greats of the past. This club demands success and that you bring your best all the time.
“And having them in the dressing room with a new group has been invaluable.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.