CELTIC fans are already counting the days until the next Champions League campaign.
An inspirational Pep talk from John Kennedy will only add to the excitement.
The Hoops assistant reckons Ange Postecoglou can deliver for Celtic like Pep Guardiola has for Man City[/caption]
Yet Kennedy says Postecoglou is alreadyhow to take to the level in Europe’s elite tournament.
But Kennedy is backing Postecoglou to turn Celtic into aversion of City as he prepares for a Champions League return.
He said: “Man City were sensational in midweek. They have the resources to bring in a higher level of player.
“We have to try to maximise what we can do and you can’t put a ceiling on that.
“We’ve earned the right to play in the Champions League and then you want to test yourself against the best.
“Man City are a terrific team. From a coaching perspective they’re very inspiring.
“Everyone looking at them can see the level of performance they are putting in. But, again, they’ve taken time to get to that level. They’re playing in a different league to us at a different level.
“But in terms of getting to that point,has had to spend time with that squad to get them to where they look a very special team.
“Certainly, Ange will do his own version of that here.
“We didn’t get the results this season, but there were signs in our performances when we showed we can go toe-to-toe with the big guys for periods in games.
“We have to take belief from that, but we have tovery hard to try to maximise what we get.
“The manager is very good at getting everything out of the players and making them go 100 per cent every day.
“That’s something he’s really good at. He won’t let up on them.
“He won’t let them be comfortable. He’ll squeeze every last drop from them if he can.”
Kennedy’s partnership with Postecoglou has been the cornerstone of Celtic’s success for two seasons.
The Hoops gaffer last week referred to his No 2 as the ‘head of thedepartment’, but Kennedy insists there’s only one boss.
He said: “Ange is in charge. He’s been kind there! As assistant manager myis to be a buffer. If everyone goes to the manager with everything and anything, he’ll never get a minute’s peace.
“He’s got a lot of big decisions to make, he’s got a lot of things to deal with.
“I make sure he’s aware of what’s going on and he has the information he needs to make the bigger decisions.
“He’s the one who, at the weekend, makes the team selections, brings in players and speaks to the board about the strategy of the club.
“The manager has used his skill set to build a very successful squad very quickly and he’s brought success to the club. He’s done a terrific job.”
Kennedy and fellow coach Gavin Strachan both took extreme stick during Celtic’s failed ten-in-a-row season.
But the former Hoops defender, chasing his 20th medal as a backroom staff member in nine years, takes a lot of satisfaction in how they recovered.
Kennedy said: “You do. It’s about bouncing back. That’s important for the club.
“As a club you want to, but you can’t win everything every season.
“We had great success and we’ve been very fortunate to be working here at a time of such great success.
“We hit a big bump in the road at the time and it was a hard one to take.
“But it was really satisfying being able to regroup under a new manager with a lot of new players coming in.
“There are so many good people at this football club it helps people come in and fit into theand stabilise very quickly.”
He couldn’t have asked for a better grounding, but the 39-year-old is in no rush toout on his own just yet.
Kennedy said: “I’ve always felt I’ve been challenged here. I’ve madein the right direction and I’ve been working with great people.
“If there comes a point where I feel like I’m not progressing or I’m not getting challenged, or I feel I’m not getting enough responsibility, I would look at other options.
“Or if the gaffer decides he wants to make a change! But I’m really enjoying what I’m doing here. I have a greatwith Ange. We get on really well.
“I’ve been very fortunate at Celtic. When I finished playing I had a plan in place to go through my coachingand work my way up from the youth levels and just see what materialised.
“Along the way opportunities have opened up for me, which I have taken.
“The progression has always been there for me at the club, so it’s worked out really well.
“And the opportunity to work under these guys has been second to none.
“You don’t get a lot of that in the game, the amount of time I’ve had working with so many good people.
“It’s something that I’m very grateful for.”