Ange Postecoglou reckons Jeremie Frimpong owes his success to his time with Celtic.
A youth player at Manchester City prior to joining the Hoops in 2019, the Dutchman left for Bayer Leverkusen in a £11.5-million move back in January.
Thursday night will see him return to Celtic Park for Europa League action, with the Parkhead manager identifying him as one of the visitors’ main attacking threats.
“I think every time you play against German opposition, you are in for a difficult challenge,” said Postecoglou.
“And, certainly, Leverkusen are a very strong team, with some outstanding players in the group. Of course, our own fans are already familiar with one of them!
“Frimpong has done really well. He did so here in the couple of years we had him, and I think he would be the first to say his time with Celtic helped him in his career.
“We gave him that platform on which to perform. He did so, and he got a great move after it.
“Anyone who passes through this club is part of our history, and I am sure he would acknowledge that.
“This is the first of our group games at home, and I am really looking forward to it.
“I have enjoyed all the challenges, but the European home games – with the supporters in – are definitely special.
“We have already had a couple of good ones, against Alkmaar and Jablonec.
“Even in the Midtjylland game, which came relatively early, we did really well.
“In all of them, the atmosphere has been great. On Thursday, we go again against a quality opponent.”
Celtic will not just be in it for the experience, with their manager stressing the need to win the home ties in order to be in with a chance of progressing out of the group.
“Yeah. That definitely helps because you know how difficult it is to win away from home,” Postecoglou continued.
“For example, I thought we played really well in Spain against Real Betis the other week. But with their fans pushing them on, you see how difficult it can be to pick up points.
“And that is when you are playing really well.
“So you want to get positive results in your home games, and then that hopefully sets you up to go further in the competition.”
Captain Callum McGregor, who has just signed a new deal that keeps him at the club to 2026, is not expected to be fit in time to take part.
Before Leverkusen, Celtic host Dundee United today in the Premiership.
Appointed as Celtic manager in the summer, Greek-born Australian Postecoglou has had a rough introduction to life in Scotland’s top flight.
The Hoops have lost three times already, coming off second best in the matches against Rangers, Hearts and Livingston.
That has left them four points behind their Old Firm rivals, and also trailing Hibs, Hearts, Motherwell and Dundee United.
However, as he assessed today’s fixture, Postecoglou argued that those setbacks were as much an indicator of the strength of the league as a pointer to weaknesses in his own team.
And he insists the title race could go to the wire.
“We have had a disrupted start, an inconsistent start, but our home form has been really good and we are playing some good football,” he said.
“Dundee United are with us next and, hopefully, it is chance to start to go on a bit of a run.
“Listen, the Premiership is relentless. Every game in it is a challenge.
“You don’t go into any game thinking the opposition are not going to be at it, and working really hard, irrespective of where they are in terms of positions on the ladder.
“I have got a feeling this year is going to be pretty close.
“I could way out of line because historically there has been dominance one way of the other. But that is the way I see it.
“It is a tight league, with a number of teams fighting for position. I think it will be exciting.”
One man’s exciting is another’s nerve-shredding, but the 56-year-old laughs at the idea a Helicopter-Sunday-style finish could be tough on his blood pressure.
He said: “Well, I have got through the first three months, so I reckon I am in shape for what is ahead.”
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