WHEN Neil Lennon became Celtic manager for the first time, he spoke about a desire to bring back the thunder. Now Ange Postecoglou wants to bring back the magic.

There is no doubt that there has been much missing from the experience of watching Celtic over the last year or so. No fans and subsequently no atmosphere off the pitch, no trophies and no Champions League football on it.

Postecoglou can’t do much about filling the stands, but what he can do is give the fans something to look forward to when they can all finally get in to watch their team. The prospect of a European night at a packed Celtic Park may seem a long way off for a variety of reasons just now, but Postecoglou says he is already working hard on making it a reality.

“It’s obviously a very significant fixture for us and it comes pretty early,” Postecoglou told the Celtic View Podcast. “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 is of course rather working with one hand tied behind his back at present. Pre-season training starts tomorrow for the players not away on international duty, but their manager won’t be able to join them until next week as he is currently in quarantine following his arrival from Japan.

Given the size of the task in front of him though, he is in no position to be idle in isolation.

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

That first major hurdle on the field for Postecoglou is provided by Danish side FC Midtjylland, who have a man in their ranks that Celtic fans need no introduction to in the shape of defender Erik Sviatchenko.

Whether he will be in the green and white of Celtic once again or the black and red of his current side by the time the tie arrives remains to be seen, with the 29-year-old linked recently with a move back to the East End of Glasgow.

Postecoglou himself has a head start on scouting Celtic’s opponents, having kept a keen eye on the form of Australian international Awer Mabil over the last few years.

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

“He’s been there for quite a while and because of that I know the club quite well. 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.”