ANGE POSTECOGLOU is hoping that the return of supporters can lead to Celtic Park becoming a fortress again, but he has told his players it is up to them to entertain the crowd and get them behind the team.

Celtic will welcome 25,000 supporters to their home game against Dundee tomorrow as they look to get their Premiership campaign up and running after last week’s defeat to Hearts, while a full house will take in the second leg of their Europa League qualifying tie against FK Jablonec on Thursday.

In order for Celtic to sustain a title challenge this season, Postecoglou says it is vitally important to get the fans on side, and to make Celtic Park a venue to be feared once more.

“It is a good game for us because we were disappointed last week with the way the game ended against Hearts,” Postecoglou said.

“It is important for our league campaign that at home we put in a strong performance and we get a result.

“To have success this year, we need to start winning games on a consistent basis.

“It won’t be a full house, but there will still be 25,000-odd in there and it’ll be a good challenge.

“I think it works both ways. There’s no doubt it’s an important ingredient in playing games at home, the energy a crowd gives you.

“Last week playing at Hearts, you could tell their crowd really gave them some energy. I’m sure that’s what the supporters will give us, but we’ve got to give them some hope and belief as well.

“It works both ways. The energy goes both ways. If they see a team have a willing desire to play aggressive football at home and take it to our opponents, they’ll get behind us.

“We’ve got to have them believe in what we’re doing. It works both ways.

“But home form and a home record is crucially important if you want to have success.”

Despite it being only the second game of Celtic’s league campaign, Postecoglou says he is acutely aware that losing further ground to Rangers even at this early stage is not an option.

“I understand that,” he said. “But for me, we’ve just got to keep improving our football. I’m a real believer if we do that the results will come.

“There’s no doubt that, particularly at home, we want to be a team that consistently wins and doesn’t give too much away.

“That has to start on Sunday for us. The result is important, but my gut always tells me it’s the football that will get you there.

“And if we want to be aiming for success this year in a meaningful way, we have to keep improving our football.

“Because even a win on Sunday, if it’s not convincing, would still show me we have a way to go.

“Dundee are a good side and Hearts showed last week that every team can be tough to crack.

“If we continually stick to our football, when we do that, in every game where we’ve played those periods when we’ve controlled the game the way I want to, we’ve looked really good.

“We just haven’t been able to do it consistently.”

Postecoglou was delighted to add James McCarthy to his squad during the week, but with his first training session with his new teammates pencilled in for today, tomorrow’s game may come a little too soon.

“I haven’t even met him yet,” Postecoglou said. “I’ve got a feeling James may be a bit slower because he hasn’t had a pre-season with a club. All the others brought in have been involved with clubs whether it is pre-season or playing. James has been different.

“By all accounts, he’s obviously been looking after himself and working hard, so we’ll have a chat.

“I got a sense he might be a slower introduction than the others.”