THE good thing about football, so many a player will tell you after a defeat, is that another game comes along very quickly in order that they might make amends. In Scottish football, the chance to take revenge against a particular team who has bested you comes around within weeks.

So it is that Celtic will welcome Hearts to Celtic Park tomorrow looking to exact a measure of retribution for the opening day Premiership defeat at Tynecastle. The competition is different, and so is the mood music around Ange Postecoglou and his team. Vastly, in fact.

Since that last-gasp loss to Hearts, which came on the back of Celtic’s Champions League exit to FC Midtjylland, Postecoglou’s side have comfortably beaten FK Jablonec over two legs to secure a Europa League play-off against AZ Alkmaar, and thumped Dundee on league business with the kind of zest and guile that was conspicuous by its absence over these last 12 months.

They have a new goalkeeper in the shape of the vastly experienced Joe Hart. Carl Starfelt, who was thrown in for his debut at Tynecastle fresh out of quarantine, is getting up to speed, strengthening the defence.

The midfield has taken on a more attacking bent, with Tom Rogic coming in for Ismaila Soro, and Callum McGregor orchestrating it all from deep for the likes of David Turnbull, Ryan Christie, Liel Abada or James Forrest to cause mayhem further up the field.

And at the head of it all, they have uncovered a potential star in the form of livewire striker Kyogo Furuhashi, whose buzzbomb style and piercing runs off the shoulder brought him a hat-trick on his home debut and an instant place in the hearts of the Celtic support.

So, you might say that things - at last for Celtic - are looking up. Certainly, Postecoglou feels that Hearts will be coming up against a more formidable beast entirely this time around.

“It will be different,” Postececoglou said. “Cup games, by their nature, are different. They tend to have more of an edge, knowing the result is so crucial.

“We’re at home in front of a big crowd again, which will be great, and I think we’ve improved since last time.

“It was a good game at Tynecastle and we were competitive for long spells. We weren’t really threatening Hearts enough and they did a good job of shutting us down. Our job is to turn the possession in to more of a threat this time.

“I don’t put down markers because sometimes they can be false in a positive and negative sense. I just want us to keep developing. I wasn’t too distraught [after losing at Tynecastle], even in the Midtjylland games we were well in those matches.

“But we know there’s still a long way to go because we can be successful. We’re on a good trajectory.

“That day I think Carl had hardly had a session, Kyogo was only with us at the hotel and a couple of the other boys had not had a great pre-season so yeah, we are a bit further down the track and our football has improved a little bit.

“But that’s not to say it is going to be any easier a game for us or a game where we can just naturally dominate. We’ve got to work hard.

“Hearts are a good side and it will be a good challenge for us.”

Despite the upturn in form and the standard of football, Postecoglou is still keenly aware that he has patched together a team somewhat on the hop.

“I’ve kind of thrown them in, and it’s been a bit unfair,” he said. “It puts them under the spotlight right away.

“But they’ve all coped remarkably well. Abada, Kyogo, Carl and Joe, they’ve all been thrown in and really embraced what we are all about.

“We want to be a brave team and make brave decisions, and they have been helped by the ones already here.

“Cal has been unbelievable as a leader, to make sure they feel comfortable and feel part of it.

“It hasn’t been ideal the way we’ve put them in but they’ve coped with it.”

And how. The last three games have brought 13 goals, and no matter the standard of opposition, that has helped instil confidence into the players over what their manager is asking them to do, and has earned buy-in from the supporters too.

“It builds the belief,” Postecoglou said. “That’s the kind of team we want to be - an aggressive, attacking side that scores goals.

“In the last game it was Kyogo and Ryan Christie who got the headlines, the other night it was David Turnbull and James Forrest. Tommy Rogic was outstanding.

“It’s good we have multiple threats. That’s the kind of thing we want to keep developing and improving.”