Ange Postecoglou insists his developing squad have to embrace the ruthless and relentless nature of life at Celtic.
Challenges just keep coming for the new-look Parkhead group.
Whilst the likes of captain Callum McGregor have been over the course and distance before and know what it’s like to meet the demands of the club day-on-day, it’s a new experience for some others within Postecoglou’s dressing room.
Standards are set high. Scrutiny is unrelenting. Expectation to deliver comes every single second.
No sooner had Celtic plundered a Premier Sports Cup, the stresses of the Premiership title race were back on.
Europe was a factor for seven months. Now the Scottish Cup is in the mix.
It takes talent to succeed at Celtic, but also a mentality to regularly rise to the occasion.
Consistently hitting the heights is no easy task, but the rewards are tangible for those who do and Postecoglou wants his troops to savor the strain.
He explained: “They haven’t been the kind of group who have got ahead of themselves. I’d hate to think people think that way.
“They understand we still have a long way to go as a team and the one thing they have shown through that is resilience.
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“We have had plenty of excuses not to be in the position that we are at this point of year.
“But, as I keep saying, it’s a new group and a rebuild and there is a relentlessness around this club that you have to embrace.
“What’s happened in the past is not going to buy you grace if you fail in the next step. That’s just part of this club and that’s just what they have to get used to.
“Every week there is a challenge and every week there is an expectation. And there is nothing wrong with that. Just embrace it.
“I don’t think it’s a case of them thinking that we are ahead of ourselves in any way because they know they have a lot of challenges.
“It’s only hard if you haven’t experienced it before or it’s a new experience.
“You can talk about it, but people forget there are a lot of guys who are young in terms of age and experience in this group.
“Until you live it, this is why I keep exposing these guys. It’s the only way they will embrace it and understand it.
“All of them have shown they want to do that, but it doesn’t stop.
“It doesn’t stop because last week was good or the week before was good, or they played well the game before or scored goals the game before.
“What’s important is what happens in the next game.”
That’s particularly true again this weekend as Celtic head to Edinburgh for another huge match in their title bid.
Postecoglou and his men were barely off the pitch in the Arctic Circle when attention had switched to tomorrow’s lunchtime showdown against Hibs.
Celtic can’t afford any slips at Easter Road and their motivation should be heightened after a meek performance in Norway saw their European campaign ended by Bodo/Glimt.
Postecoglou wants a big performance, but not as any sort of response to the continental failure as he explained: “I’d hate to think that’s what it takes for us to kick on. Not being successful.
“What should make you kick on is being successful.
“So it is not the message I am giving the players. This is not about being disappointed and getting a reaction.
“It’s about not being disappointed in the first place by making sure we play at the level that I expect.
“Thursday was a disappointing end to the [European] campaign. But moving to Sunday, it would be the same approach, irrespective.”
Postecoglou did not attempt to dress up the two-legged disappointment against the Norwegians. It was below those demanded levels and it annoyed him.
The manager said: “When I look at our European campaign and even the two Midtjylland games which came early, I thought we showed more intent.
“We were way too passive in two games against Bodo/Glimt and it’s disappointing because there was an opportunity to progress and we didn’t.
“That’s ultimately the level you have to be at all the time and you can’t drop below that or else you are not going to be successful.
“It’s not like I just expect us to perform well all of the time, but I think there are parts of the team that should be embedded into us to perform at certain levels and we just didn’t over the two games.
“That’s down to me. That’s my responsibility to make sure we address that because we want to be a team that does well in Europe, we want to make an impact whatever competition.
“When you look at it this year, we haven’t done that.”
One bonus was that key stars such as Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers got the night off ahead of Easter Road.
Influential figures should be fresh and ready to go and the boss said: “They have to be because it is going to be a difficult game.
“The guys who didn’t play or start against Bodo/Glimt are going to have to make sure they are ready for it.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.