ANGE POSTECOGLOU has told his Celtic players they will have to move up to the next level if they want to enjoy the success they shared in his first season at the club, warning them that their rivals will be desperate to usurp them as champions.

The Celtic manager says that he won’t simply be relying on the tried and trusted formula he used to take the club back to the top of the Scottish game last term, and he will be expecting even more from his players when they return to pre-season training next week.

After a season in Scotland, Postecoglou is wary that he will no longer be an unknown quantity for the opposition here, and knows he will have to adapt if Celtic are to retain their title.

“They won’t be expecting me to come in and say, ‘Look, we’re going to do what we did last year’ because that will go against everything that I’ve been talking about,” Postecoglou said, speaking on Luke Darcy’s ‘Empowering Leaders’ podcast.

“That would be risk-averse, that would be saying, ‘Well, you know, we’ve got a successful formula; let’s roll it out again’. But I know that’s not how sport works because every year, if you’re part of the chasing pack, you’re trying to hunt somebody down. You have to be better than the person that is ahead of you.

“If you are ahead of the pack, you’ve got to be better than you were last year because the one thing you know is whatever marker you have set down, it’s the people who were chasing you, they are going to go surpass that marker you’ve laid down as that is their objective.

"So, we have got to be further ahead. That’s only going to happen if, on the first day of pre-season, the guys come in and go, ‘Okay, well, we’ve gone up a level again’. In terms of our environment, intensity, tempo in how we are going to approach things, how we’re going to play, how we’re going to work.

“For me, that’s the exciting bit, is there is now that expectation in the group. We, as coaches, and myself as a leader, have to deliver that and match their expectations of wanting more, wanting to go further down this path of trying to achieve being something special.

“Maybe last year, the whole fact that I was underestimated when I came in worked in my favour. But I think this year, people will say, ‘We know who he is now, and we’re not going to underestimate him, and we know what he can deliver’.”