ANGE Postecoglou has urged his Celtic players to capitalise fully on the sell-out crowd that will cram into Parkhead for the Europa League rematch with Jablonec tonight and build on their growing momentum.

Postecoglou’s men have put their shaky start to the new season – they lost their Champions League double header with Midtjylland and were beaten by Hearts in the Premiership - firmly behind them in their last two outings.

They won the first leg of their third qualifying round double header 4-2 in the Czech Republic last week and then thrashed Dundee 6-0 at home on Sunday.

Their league win at the weekend was recorded with a 24,500 supporters looking on after Covid-19 social distancing restrictions were relaxed.

The Greek-Australian coach is looking forward to a full house being in attendance at Parkhead for the first time since March last year and is hopeful it will help Celtic to continue the rapid progression they have made this month.

“The last two games have obviously gone well,” he said. “I think there’s an opportunity to build momentum because of the circumstances. Being a European fixture with a full house, it’s a unique set of circumstances that we want to take advantage of.

“If we can have another positive performance and get a positive result it creates a good atmosphere moving forward and gives everyone encouragement – the players and our supporters. It is a good opportunity to do that. 

“The benefits for the team are significant. It will be my first time with that, but it will also be so significant for the boys who have been here a while. It will be a sharp contrast with what they went through last year with no supporters. 

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“We don’t need reminding that the supporters are the lifeblood of a football club – particularly this football club – and what they add to the arena and a game of football.  I think they will all be excited –  even the Callum McGregors who have been here for so long. 

“Walking out in front of 60,000 at Celtic Park on a European night, for all of us it will be a special occasion.”

Postecoglou has experienced huge crowds before in his coaching career – his Australian side won the Asian Cup in 2015 with 76,385 fans looking on in Sydney – and he is personally looking forward to sampling the unique atmosphere of Celtic Park on a European night.

However, the 58-year-old is more concerned with his team replicating their display against Dundee and recording a third successive victory. 

“I’ve been fortunate to be involved in quite a few big games in front of big crowds and they all hold their own significance,” he said. “They’re all great. I’ve been pretty lucky that, in most of them, the results have gone my way, which helps you to remember that experience fondly.

“I’ve no doubt that tomorrow night will be one of those occasions that, when I’m long retired and sitting on a Greek island somewhere, I’ll reflect on, hopefully in a positive way, about a great performance.”

The changes that Postecoglou has implemented since taking charge were obvious once again against Dundee - not least in the play of full-backs Anthony Ralston and Greg Taylor.

He is keen for Ralston and Taylor to push into the centre of midfield to receive the ball and has been delighted with how the Scottish duo have responded to the radical change in their roles.

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“I put more demands on our players than is the case with most systems at other clubs,” he said. “Whether that’s defenders who’re expected to play out from the back or attacking players who’re also expected to defend pretty aggressively, there are other clubs where they’re not asked to do that.

“Our full-backs play a little differently, but both Greg and Anthony have embraced that. It’s a different approach to their positions and I think they’ve both done well.

“Anthony’s taken his opportunity and he’s thriving at the minute. It is very challenging for any footballer to adjust things they have been doing for a long time in a certain way.

“But, you know, that’s the kind of players I want, the kind of team I want us to be: one that embraces new challenges, takes some risks and be a little bit different in everything we do. Anthony’s clearly been one that’s done that.”