It has taken time, attention to detail and vision for Midtjylland to carve out a seat for themselves at the top table of Danish football. Then again, the club was founded by a carpenter. When wood-supply magnate Johnny Rune alighted upon the idea – along with Mercedes-Benz dealer Steen Hessel – of merging their respective clubs Ikast and Herning Fremad – there were bold plans considering the modest achievements of each entity (Ikast had lost three Danish Cup finals in the 80s and 90s) and the small matter of their long-standing rivalry.

“The goal is promotion to the Superliga in a year, be part of the top six and then play [European] football within five years,” said Rune, as he announced the formation of the new club in 1999.

Even more ambitiously, he set a rough time frame of a decade in which Midtjylland could expect to win their first league title. It would take slightly longer than initially planned – their first Superliga arriving in 2015 – and the work of a man from an entirely different industry to push Midtjylland over the line. Matthew Benham, the owner of Brentford and also of sports betting consultancy Smartodds, had quickly set about applying data analysis to the running of his new football club upon his arrival in 2014 and he would reap immediate rewards.

His influence on Brentford – newly promoted to the Premier League - is well documented but it is an example that so many other clubs would be well served to follow, not least in Scotland. The presence in the Lowland League this season of a Celtic colts team – referred to in a an official message on the club's official website as 'Celtic B' when announcing the arrival of Bosun Lawal from Watford – is in part borrowed in spirit if not actual design from Brentford who have hothoused talented young players in their B team since 2016, often with impressive results.

Midtjylland have been similarly progressive over the years when it comes to scouting, player development and sports science.

“It is very much in the DNA to try to do things differently,” Rasmus Ankersen, chairman of the Danish club and also Brentford's director of football, said prior to their Champions League encounter with Liverpool last October. He was referring to the presence of, among others, a cognitive psychologist, a sleep coach, a throw-in coach and a ball-striking coach on the staff. Of the latter position, Ankersen added: “It is like in golf where players work with their swing. Why don't footballers do the same with how they strike the ball?”

The fruits of doing things differently have been self-evident. Since that first title in 2015, Midtjylland have added two more and are regular participants in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League and Europa League. In 2014-15, they even beat Manchester United 2-1 in the first leg of their round of 32 match before succumbing to a 5-1 defeat in the second leg.

One of the heroes of that run, Pione Sisto, earned a £5.5m move to Celta Vigo, and briefly illuminated Spanish football before the 26-year-old returned to the club where he made his name at the start of last season having contributed to a goal every four games for the La Liga side.

He had arrived at the club as a 15-year-old and is one of a number of high-profile players such as Denmark captain Simon Kjaer and former West Ham United defender Winston Reid – now back in the Premier League having helped Brentford to promotion last season - who have come through the academy and gone on to bigger things, while generating decent but not eye-watering transfer fees in the process.

In many ways, Midtjylland share the same issues that Celtic have in attempting to secure value for money for those talents they have produced.

Sisto was part of the Denmark squad that played at the 2018 World Cup, although he was an omission for this summer's Euro 2020 finals. Nevertheless, he is a live threat to Celtic and scored in Midtjylland's last-minute 2-1 defeat by Odense as they got their Superliga campaign off to a disappointing start on Friday night. Also contained in the squad is Jonas Lossl, the former Everton goalkeeper, who was included in Casper Hjulmand's squad and one other player with recent experience of the national team, Henrik Dalsgaard, a summer signing from, yes, that's right, Brentford.

The 31-year-old gave some indication recently of why a return to his homeland and, specifically, Midtjylland appealed.

“My aim is to play in the group stages of the Champions League and that was a big appeal to come here," he said earlier this month. "I could easily have stayed at Brentford, but the ambitions of this club appealed to me. At this club, we also have to win the title or at least compete for it. We have to be up there.”

Meanwhile, likely to head in the opposite direction is Frank Onyeka, who is also a target for Napoli. Should the Nigerian end up making the switch to west London, he will acquaint himself with Kristoffer Ajer.

It is Midtjylland's lot: academy development, astute signings, domestic success, fending off their best players while hoping for the kind of progress in European competition that provides you with the capital to rinse and repeat.

Celtic know the cycle all too well.