Grounded for weeks due to Covid-19, Harald Brattbakk has just returned to work as an airline pilot.
As Celtic taxi towards their first Premiership game of the season against Hamilton Accies this afternoon, the Norwegian hopes to see them flying high, all the way to the dizzying heights of 10-in-a-row.
The former Hoops striker might be living back in his native Norway, but his radar is fixed on the goings-on in Scottish football.
Having been through the turbulence of trying to stop Rangers from winning 10 in season 1997-98, Brattbakk knows the tension in this campaign will climb to a ridiculous altitude.
But he hopes the Old Firm rivalry will dominate the headlines for the right reasons over the next 10 months, and not crash-land.
And come May, Brattbakk plans to have a first-class ticket for Celtic Park to see Scott Brown lift the Premiership trophy, having achieved what the former striker helped prevent Rangers accomplishing 22 years ago.
Brattbakk told The Sunday Post: “It’s great to see Scottish football back again. It’s been a long time.
“I’m certain every Celtic player will be desperate to get out there in a competitive game and record a good result against Hamilton Accies.
“It’s the kick-off to what is going to be a strange season for different reasons.
“Obviously, the world has been unusual in the past five months because of Covid-19. It came to a virtual standstill, and life was just not what we had been used to.
“Every walk of life felt it, and lots are still feeling it, in some shape or form.
“In my job as a pilot, I was off for a few months but now we are starting to get going again. It’s good to be back flying.
“For my old club, this season is so important, and there is an opportunity to create an amazing situation.
“I have experience of both scenarios. I played for Celtic when we stopped Rangers from doing 10 in 1998.
“And four years later, I was part of the Rosenborg team that clinched our 10th consecutive championship in Norway.
“I was actually there for the start of that process, left for a few years in the middle to play for Celtic and Copenhagen, and then came back again to round it off.
“It was a brilliant experience and a really special memory.
“Rosenborg achieved some very special things domestically and in Europe. But to win 10 took it up another notch.
“It adds that extra something special to your belt.
“I think it can be the same for Celtic, even though I fully understand they already have a powerful and proud history.
“From a personal point of view, being part of Wim Jansen’s team that season was an incredible experience.
“In the end, perhaps our achievement was more of a relief than being able to enjoy the victory. So I would say that being part of a set-up that wins 10-in-a-row is more special.
“I’m sure the likes of Scott Brown and James Forrest, who have been there all the way through, will feel such desire this season.
“It’s an incredible journey.
“Neil Lennon was also the manager when it all started in 2012. He left, Ronny Deila and Brendan Rodgers continued the good work, and then Neil came back.
“I’m sure he’s already a Celtic legend, and rightly so. But to lead the club to 10 would take it to another level.
“I am not taking anything for granted, and I’m certain that is the message that Neil will be giving his players every single day.
“However, I am hoping that the club achieves what needs to be done, and that I can get a ticket for the Championship party in May next year.
“But, naturally, they need to do what is required to win it, first of all.”
After being signed by Jansen for £2million midway through that rollercoaster campaign, Brattbakk can recall the tension, and quickly learned what was at stake.
He said: “There was a massive media interest in my signing, and it seemed as though everyone wanted to know every little detail about me.
“The management and my team-mates told me what I needed to do, and you had to quickly get on board.
“Unlike my planes, there was no room for passengers! The club wouldn’t allow anyone not making a contribution, nor would the supporters.
“Of course, we got there in the end and we beat St Johnstone at Parkhead 2-0 on the final day.
“I was very lucky to come on as a substitute for Phil O’Donnell, and scored a goal to settle the nerves.
“But I don’t feel it is right to take much credit as we were already ahead, thanks to a stunning goal from Henrik Larsson.
“He was an incredible footballer, really special. We were so lucky to have him that season. What a find he was by Wim.
“Then for him to go and achieve great things at Celtic for six more years was absolutely brilliant.
“He is thoroughly deserving of his legendary status. No wonder the Celtic supporters adore him.
“He played a big part in stopping our biggest rivals from doing 10.
“This season, I suppose Rangers will be looking to Jermaine Defoe and Alfredo Morelos to play significant roles.
“From experience of being in their shoes, there is incredible pressure on goalscorers, and the dressing room and the supporters will look to them to provide some special moments.
“As we were well aware more than 20 years ago, Rangers will know there is little room for error. They know they need to rise to the occasion every single week.”
There is no longer a Larsson at Celtic, but the nearest they have to him is Odsonne Edouard. Brattbakk is a fan.
He said: “I watched Celtic a few times last season and really liked the look of Edouard.
“It’s easy to see why he was on the books of Paris St-Germain, and why it took a large transfer fee for Celtic to sign him.
“You can see the improvement in his game over the past 18 months.
“He has been trustworthy, composed and lethal – all great ingredients for every striker to have.
“I can only see him getting better and better, and I think he will do that with Celtic. He is maturing nicely.
“It will be the desire of every supporter and player that he stays at the club, and hopefully he will for this season and then review his situation.
“He seems the type of character that will help bring calm to situations, and that’s exactly what will be required in certain moments – on and off the park – in the coming weeks and months.
“Overall, Neil needs to make sure the players stay focused and really look to do things on a ‘one-game-at-a-time’ basis.
“I know that sounds boring, but it is so true. It is the best solution to achieve the amazing dream.
“I think they will do it. And I want to be there for it.”
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