Ange Postecoglou believes Champions League football can help his Celtic team grow next season as he looks to build on the team’s Premiership title win.
A 1-1 draw at Dundee United on Wednesday sealed the league triumph, marking a huge turnaround since the Australian was appointed last summer.
Celtic will receive the Premiership trophy on Saturday after their final game of the season, but can also look ahead to next season with direct entry to the Champions League group stage assured.
Postecoglou said that while regaining the league title was motivation in itself, the promise of playing against Europe’s was an extra factor, and one that can help his squad develop.
“It is brilliant,” he said. “There were plenty of motivations to win the title this year, not least that we obviously didn’t win it last year.
“Knowing potentially that the extra carrot was there was a massive motivator.
“I felt it was a great way for us to accelerate our growth as a football club with us being involved at that level and getting exposed to that level: our players, our team, our football club, that is the level we want to be at every year.”
in recent years, the Scottish champions have faced a tough qualifying process to try and reach the Champions League, often meaning just a couple of weeks’ rest for players at the end of a long season before high-stakes matches at a time when squads are being refreshed or rebuilt.
Celtic know they won’t begin European football until September and Postecoglou said that could be a benefit, and that the transfer market would be simpler to navigate.
“We all know the qualifying process is not straightforward,” the manager said. “It affects your pre-season, it affects the time off players have, there are all these ramifications.
“It affects your recruiting because you just don’t know, are you recruiting for the Champions League or are you not?
“So all those kinds of things, we can now work with a lot more certainty this off-season and give the players a break, have a really good pre-season and identify the players we want knowing we are going to be playing in the Champions League.
“It is going to be exciting. Celtic Park, Champions League, brilliant.”