The creation of a UEFA youth league this season, effectively replacing the NextGen Series, means it is not only Celtic's first team players who will be lining up against sides representing AC Milan, Barcelona and Ajax over the coming months.
The competitions run in parallel, so when Neil Lennon's squad board their chartered flight today bound for Milan, they will have their younger counterparts for company. Tomorrow afternoon, John Kennedy and his players will take on the best prospects from Milan's youth academy and then head back into the city to watch the first team compete in the San Siro. Kennedy hopes the connection will create a lasting bond.
"We are on the team flight and pretty much replicating the first team stuff, so it's good," he said. "It's five-star treatment and it's good because it gives the players good preparation and they see what it's like to be involved in the first team environment, where they turn up to the airport, charter-flight and all the rest. It's a great experience for them.
"We'll be playing in the afternoon and then be in the San Siro watching the first team and that will be a massive part of their learning curve because we don't often get the chance to go abroad and see the away games in the Champions League. Now the players will see it first hand, see the first team in action and that's a massive part to play in their development.
"I've seen a fair bit of Milan and they're a big, strong, physical side, with a lot of good players, so it'll be a great test for our players. Looking at the squad we've got we'll have one of the youngest sides in the competition, a few under-17 players in a squad of 18, some under-19s and under-18s. It's a great test for us and we'll learn a lot from it."
Kennedy hoped some Celtic fans would take in their game in Sesto San Giovanni - a northern suburb of Milan - before heading to the senior match in the afternoon. "It would be a great boost for our players," he added. "Some of them will have family and friends there but if we could get a little crowd of fans supporting us it would be fantastic."