KEEP the faith, and trust the process. That is Ange Postecoglou’s message to the Celtic players. But he doesn’t just want them to take his word for it that sticking to their principles is what will bring them long-term success. For the Celtic manager, the evidence is already there.

Three points clear at the top of the league. The League Cup already in the trophy cabinet. These are the markers that Postecoglou wants his men to heed as proof positive they are on the right track.

So, when setbacks occur – as they will – such as the disappointing 3-1 defeat to Bodo/Glimt last week, he has told his men not to abandon what has given them their relative overall success so far under his stewardship.

Postecoglou says that anxiety crept into his side’s play during the loss to the Norwegian champions that has given them a mountain to climb here in the Arctic Circle tonight, but the way to play themselves back into the tie is by keeping calm, and carrying on with the fundamentals that have taken them this far.

“It’s not easy, because you are dealing with human beings,” Postecoglou said.

“You even saw that on Sunday, there was anxiety there when we conceded a couple of goals, you could sense the crowd getting anxious.

“We’ve just got to believe in what we do here every day in training, and what we’re trying to build.

“To the players’ credit, that’s what they have done for the most part. That’s why we’re sitting where we are in the league and why we’ve already won a trophy and we’re still in Europe.

“It’s because the players, most of the time they have found it. But we’re dealing with human beings, and last Thursday we didn’t deal with that well in moments of the game.

“Talking to the players afterwards, they understand that, and for a lot of them this is all part of the experience mate.

“A key part of experience is living something, not talking about something. So I can talk to them about what these things are like, but they have to go and do it themselves and that’s how we get growth.

“I’m sure they know it, and a lot of the lads will have grown from what happened last week. I think you learn every week. I’ve said all along that we’re still a team that’s developing.

“Other people have tried to push us into this place where we’re well down the line in terms of the potential of this team, but we’re still a developing team, we’re still putting things together.

“Within that context you’re going to have times where things don’t go to plan.

“Last week, they were a lot more efficient in the box than we were. We had plenty of opportunities that we didn’t take, they had less opportunities and took them.

“At the same time, that’s not an area we’ve struggled in this year. We’ve been really good in the box and scored a lot of goals. When that happens in a game like that…

“I think the context of it was that they scored early and that made us a little anxious about it. We’ve just got to stay really focused on our football and really calm through that process.

“That’s what we spoke about, we got ourselves back into the game, they then score a third goal from the deflection.

“Those are the things that happen in football, you just have to stay calm and deal with it in our way.

“If there was a lesson out of that game it is that we don’t need to get too anxious or too frustrated if things aren’t working out.

“We can find solutions, as we have in other games, by playing our football.”

Tonight will mark Celtic’s 14th European tie of the campaign, and Postecoglou hopes to extend that run so that his team can continue to benefit and grow from exposure to such a level of competition.

“It’s been great,” he said. “For us, I’ve seen growth through it. I’ve seen our players get exposed to it, and they are still getting exposed to it.

“The other night that was Matty ORiley’s, Reo (Hatate)’s and Daizen (Maeda)’s first European games, so we’re still exposing guys to that sort of football.

“I think that having so many games has been invaluable for us, and obviously along the way it hasn’t always worked out for us from a results perspective, but it’s helped us grow as a team.

“I think it has given us a lot of confidence when we’re playing in the Premiership, because we’re testing ourselves and still playing our football.

“We haven’t shied away from that, whether we have failed or stumbled we’ve done it still trying to play our football. That’s important, because that’s how you get growth.

“Hopefully it continues beyond [Thursday night], but for this group of players and what we are trying to build here, having that exposure and the challenge has been invaluable.”

In that spirit, it is unlikely that any of the Celtic players will have ever experienced the sort of conditions they will come up against in Bodo this evening, with a windchill of around -13 degrees Celsius predicted for kick-off.

That variety of both environment and opposition style is invaluable to the development of this Celtic team in Postecoglou’s view.

“That’s the beauty of Europe, you’re facing different types of opposition than you are in the Premiership,” he said.

“They play differently, there are different conditions. Sometimes it’s a hostile environment in terms of the crowd, so there’s always stuff you have to deal with.

“That’s part of our growth as a team to experience these things and these challenges, that’s why you love testing yourself in Europe.

“For us, it’s another great challenge.”

To have any chance of overturning the two-goal deficit they face, Postecoglou’s acknowledges his team will have to marry the obvious attacking threat they have possessed on the continent so far this season with a more focused defensive display than in previous matches.

“We understand these different levels, and we’ve conceded goals in Europe when the opposition have punished us for lapses in concentration,” he said.

“Within that, I don’t think we’re ever going to be a team that doesn’t concede goals. Hopefully what happens is that we’re a team who scores more goals than we concede. Ultimately that’s the football team we want to be.

“We could have gone through those 13 games [in Europe], conceded less goals and found out nothing about ourselves, it’s just not my approach.

“I know that doesn’t sit comfortably with a lot of people who look at football differently, but I don’t see those kind of things as negatives.

“Our approach will always be to test ourselves, test our football and then see what the outcomes are.”