LAST week, as Celtic prepared to take on Real Betis in Seville, Ange Postecoglou spoke of how he had been told all about the club’s last visit there, when tens of thousands of Celtic supporters took over the city and Martin O’Neill’s side narrowly lost out in the UEFA Cup Final.

It turns out though that no one has felt the need to broach the subject of another painful cup final defeat some seven years before that sweltering night in Andalusia, and it is perhaps understandable that everyone associated with Celtic would want to forget that penalty shootout Coca-Cola Cup loss to Raith Rovers at Ibrox.

Postecoglou is keen to stress to his men though that they cannot forget about the potential pitfalls of cup competitions as the Kirkcaldy side come to Celtic Park tonight looking to upset the odds once more.

“That’s one I wasn’t aware of,” Postecoglou said. “I’m aware of many facts about Celtic but that one obviously was a fair while ago.

“Look, I think cup competitions, by their nature, you know that irrespective of the opponents or the level of competition they are in - whether that is the same division or a lower division - are never easy affairs.

“That’s not just here in Scotland, that’s worldwide. It is why people love cup competitions. We are certainly not going into it thinking we have some advantage because of our stature as a football club.

“All we can do is go out there and make sure we play our football and impose our will on the game, particularly at home, get our support behind us and make it as uncomfortable for the opposition as possible so we can try and be successful.

“It’s an opportunity. We’ve had a couple of opportunities we’ve taken this year and we’ve missed a couple. We need to be a team that when opportunities come along, we take them, knowing they won’t always be there.

“[Thursday] night is an opportunity for us to progress to the last four of the tournament, and be a step away from competing for silverware, and that is what this club is all about. So, there is no doubt there will be a great focus to make sure it is a strong performance, and most importantly, that we progress.”

The prospect of Celtic crashing out of this tournament at this stage to this level of opposition hardly bears thinking about for Postecoglou off the back of the defeat to Livingston at the weekend, and he knows that Rovers will travel to Glasgow smelling blood.

“Both clubs know what is at stake and they will come here with hope and optimism, and having seen our result at the weekend, they may feel they have got an opportunity to capitalise on any sort of uncertainty we have,” he said.

“Our job is to make sure none of that exists. Our job is to make sure we play our best football and when we have done that this season we can match the very best.”

Whether Celtic will be at their best or not remains to be seen, but they certainly won’t be at full strength.

Captain Callum McGregor will be out for another week or so, James Forrest is still some time away from a possible return, and Giorgos Giakoumakis is still likely to be only fit enough to make the bench.

“It is what it is and there’s no point me walking around thinking [I’m hard done by] or feeling sorry for myself because that’s not the kind of team I want to build, and not the kind of person I am,” said Postecoglou.

“You’ve just got to get on with it, it is all being dealt with.

“A week or so ago I said the challenge for us was building some resilience and having an understanding what you can control, what you can’t control and to make sure we were strong through it. Because I know it will settle down.

“At some point we’ll get into a position where we will have all our players available and get some consistency in our team. I know that time will come and until that time comes we just got to stay really strong and resilient. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger so we’ll just keep moving on.

I don’t feel like I’m walking around with a dark cloud over my head. I’m still very, very positive about what we are doing and I’ve no doubt we are heading in the right direction.

“It’s just about me making sure the players, and everyone involved in the football club, knows that once we’ve come through this period we’ll be a better club coming out of it.”

For all of Postecoglou’s infectious idealism when it comes to his football principles though, he is also keenly aware that the current run of form – Celtic have lost four of their last five matches – must be corrected soon if he is to have the chance of seeing his vision through.

Not that he is allowing the outside noise or pressure sway him from the path he has set this football club on.

“I don’t feel things either way but I don’t expect people not to scrutinise what I’m doing,” he said.

“If things are not going well I’ve been around long enough to know that people, for one reason or another, are going to analyse it and come up with their assessment.

“Some won’t be favourable, others may have more of an understanding. But I’ll never let that guide what I do or who I am as a person because the reality of it is whoever is making the assessments on our current state is making it on limited information.

“It’s impossible for people outside this football club to know exactly the information that I have and what we are trying to create and achieve here. But you have to accept scrutiny and criticism. It’s part of the game.

“Some will understand the circumstances we are in and will be measured while others will have different agendas and they will be harder. But it doesn’t affect me. Anyone who gets into this job and doesn’t want scrutiny or criticism will quickly realise that sort of utopia does not exist.

“The most successful managers still get scrutiny so I don’t think there should be anyone in the food chain who feels they should escape it. But it doesn’t mean that’s going to dictate my mood, my demeanour or make me angry or make me change my approach.”