THERE may be those in the Celtic dressing room this season who insist they are paying no attention to what is happening across the city at Ibrox, but Christopher Jullien is candid enough to admit that he took notice of Rangers’ new arrivals this week. That’s not to say he is particularly perturbed by them.

The big defender acknowledges that the challenge coming not only from the other side of Glasgow, but all across the country, will be heightened this season as Celtic go for their tenth consecutive title.

Jullien says that he and his teammates know their enemy, and know of the hunger from elsewhere to snatch their crown, but they are certain they have what it takes within their own dressing room to once again prevail in the Premiership.

“I saw [the Rangers signings] this morning,” Jullien said. “Every team in the championship will try to sign new players.

“We know that the rivalry with Rangers is really big. They want to have some players in their team. That’s normal because they want to defeat the champions.

“Today we are the champions and we know every team is going to come stronger.

“We are ready for it. We know every team is going to have some power and we just have to be more focused and work hard on our team.”

The opening day win over Hamilton, Jullien says, was the perfect example of how Celtic will answer the challenge that is being laid down to them by the other sides in Scotland this term, overcoming a stiff Hamilton resistance to eventually overpower and ultimately demolish them. Any hope Accies had of catching Celtic cold were soon dispelled.

“The club and the intensity we put into the game answered that,” he said.

“Our opponents are becoming stronger and we just have to be focused.

“It was really good. I’d preferred not to have conceded a goal and to have kept a clean sheet which would have been way better.

“It was a good day, to start the competition like this, and to score a lot of goals and to win.”

Jullien himself could have had a couple of goals on Sunday, cracking the post with a volley from a corner and going close with a header as the threat he poses from set-pieces was clear yet again.

So accustomed to finding the net has he become that he has set himself a scoring target for the season, a confident statement from a centre-half.

“My aim is to stop the goals but if I told you my target for scoring goals then you’d think I was a fool,” he said.

“I will just keep it for myself and if I do it one day, I will come to you and tell you I have done it.

“I don’t want to speak too much beforehand about my targets. I just focus on it.

“My first target is to be champions with the team and to win the trophy again and try to do something that has never been done.

“After that, my own target and my own vision would come second.”

With all of the frenzied chat surrounding the tilt at 10 in-a-row already just one game into the season, you may think that matters close to home were the one and only priority this term for the Celtic players.

Indeed, there might well be a huge majority of Celtic supporters who would sacrifice a long European run this year if it was to the detriment of their aims on the domestic front.

They may feel a little differently though as they get caught up in the excitement of the draw for the Champions League qualifiers, which takes place on Sunday. Jullien is certainly excited to be involved in the competition, and he places as much value on reaching the group stages of the tournament as the money men in the boardroom will.

“I’ve not looked at who we could play,” he said. “I just prefer not to focus on who it might be. I like to wait and to see the draw then let’s go.

“I’m really happy we can have a chance to go in the Champions League. I know it’s one game [qualifiers], so we’ll have to be really focussed.

“Last season in Europe were great times. In the Europa League last season, we learned a lot, and we definitely want to get back to the Champions League this year.”