OFTEN in football, you will hear a manager talk about knowing when to put their arm around a player, and when to give them a timely boot up the backside. According to Ange Postecoglou, the Celtic players shouldn’t expect cuddles from him, though a kick in the jacksy at some point perhaps isn’t out of the question.

The reason the Celtic manager was on the subject was to give an insight into the remarkable revival of Tom Rogic during these early weeks of the season, with the midfielder thriving since the arrival of his compatriot as his boss.

Has Postecoglou had a heart-to-heart with Rogic, searching his soul to bring the best out of Scottish football’s ultimate mercurial talent? Well, no, not especially. Instead, he has provided the conditions, the daily environment, and a tactical set-up to bring out the best in all of his players, the by-product of which has been the re-emergence of Rogic as Celtic’s main creative force.

"I obviously know Tom really well and always thought he was one of those special players who fans love to watch,” Postecoglou said.

“I also know he's the kind of guy who needs to feel good about himself, his body and how he's playing his football. He can be pretty critical of himself.

“Since I've come here, he's been good. He had an interrupted pre-season with a small injury so we nursed him back, but he's one of those special players that every time they get on the ball, people get excited. I get excited watching him play and he creates some special things. His ball to Kyogo (Furuhashi) the other night [against AZ Alkmaar] in the build-up was outstanding.

"He's only 28 and for every footballer your career is not a linear process. There's up and downs that players have to deal with at different times in their careers, whether that's injuries or loss of form. Ultimately, Tom's still got a great deal ahead of him and can be a really influential player and I am super pleased to have him in my team.

"I am not the cuddles type but I try and provide an environment where they feel comfortable and can be the best they can be. That's what I try and create every day for everybody - players and staff.”

For a Celtic squad who often looked to have the weight of the world on their shoulders last season, there was also a need to reemphasise their privileged position, and how hard each of them had worked to get into that position.

“I just [had to] remind them that we are all pretty blessed to do what we do and we've a limited time in it, all of us, no matter who we are,” he said.

“So let's use every day to be the best we can be and remember why we started this whole journey when we were eight or nine years-old and picked up a ball and fell in love with the game.

“Sometimes the professional game can sap that out of you, whether you are a player, coach or administrator, so I just try and provide an environment where hopefully players enjoy their football, understand they have responsibilities and work hard, but get a huge kick at the end of it because the rewards are some success and enjoying their football.

"I'd love to think I am guy that walks around with a halo above his head and gives off a glow that everyone loves, but for Tom it was more about feeling good about himself again, getting his body right, playing the football that he can play.

“The one thing he did know with me coming was the kind of football we were going to play and that would be suited to him. If he could get himself right physically, and be in a good head space, he would enjoy his football. That I do know.

“Whether that was an inducement for him to take this opportunity, that's a question for him, but it was more about what I was going to bring in a football sense. That familiarity that it was me coming in.

“He's enjoying the environment, the training and the way we play our football. So no cuddles, mate, let's just get on with it.”