ANGE POSTECOGLOU’S mic’d up training session shortly after his arrival as Celtic manager gave supporters an early idea of what the Greek-Australian. His mantra – ‘we don’t stop’ – was quickly taken to heart by his players and has even been adopted as a catchphrase by fans.

Certainly, the approach appears to be paying off as Celtic close in on reclaiming their Premiership crown at the first time of asking. Given all the upheaval that faced the Glasgow club last summer in the playing squad, the dugout and the boardroom, it is impressive that Postecoglou’s men are within touching distance of the title.

Perhaps it’s no surprise. Postecoglou’s team famously doesn’t stop and the Parkhead manager’s relentless attitude has no doubt spurred his team on over the course of the campaign. But what’s lesser known is that the 56-year-old is rather fond of an early start too.

When Postecoglou - voted as the SFWA's Manager of the Year -  first jetted into Glasgow and was self-isolating in his hotel room, the wheels were already in motion for the upcoming campaign. He was all too aware of the scale of the task facing him and didn’t want to waste a minute when preparing for the challenges the new season would bring.

“You understand there's a massive responsibility as manager of this club and know there's a fairly major rebuild needed,” he said. “I got my head round that pretty early.

“I had a week of isolation in the hotel room, where I could exercise all my demons and any doubts I had in terms of the enormity it. Once I got here, I didn't have time to think about it too much because what happens then is it becomes overwhelming if you think about everything you need to do.

“It was step-by-step, trying to be really disciplined. There was no doubt the beginning was going to be really rocky in one way or other because it was going to time to embed the football style but I just had to stay disciplined through that to make sure I took every step I thought we needed to take to get to a position where we were going to be competitive this year.

“Absolutely, [I was working in that hotel room]. I had no time to waste. Everybody knows the story by now but I was brought in pretty late in the piece.

“There wasn't a time where I could sit back and take in the landscape of what we needed to do. As soon as I got appointed, even before I got to the UK, when I was still in Japan I'd started mapping out the steps we needed to take. The blueprint was there but putting that into practice was going to be the challenging bit.”

The hard work would begin in earnest once that period of self-isolation was ended and Postecoglou could start leading training sessions. Key players like Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie announced their intentions to leave the club before the summer transfer window closed, and the Celtic boss had to carefully manage their exits whilst also identifying their replacements.

“It was super important and to the players' credit I said to them let's be up front and honest about this, I am not going to take it personally because I have arrived and people want to leave,” Postecoglou recalled.

“These decisions were probably made a lot earlier in the piece and with all these guys, whether it was Kristoffer, Odsonne or Ryan, it was pretty clear they weren't going to be part of the plans for this season.

“I was well aware that particularly those three wouldn't be around for this season and the tricky part was I knew we wouldn't get in there replacements before they had gone for the most part. Most of our recruiting came after that or just before those guys left.

“That was going to the tricky bit. If the recruiting had already been done or we had already bought players, the dealing with it would have been easier. It was a juggling act we had to carry out.”

Postecoglou continued: “There was no time to switch off, there was too much to do, I was well-aware of that. I knew the enormity of the task and I was prepared to take that on and I was confident we could build something but at the same time my feeling was we couldn't go 12 months without some sort of success.

“I could have gone out there and said, 'this is going to be a rebuilding year' and for the most part people would understand if we were competitive.

“But my thinking was I had to use every moment I had to make sure we gave ourselves a chance of success this year in one form or another to then give me the opportunity to build what I want to build and more or less to gain the trust and confidence of the people in the club and who support it.

“The key part of that in the early part was I was always going to be judged on the players I brought in. That's where people probably made their first judgement on you as a new manager coming in because you could put in practice your words.

“We brought in Kyogo [Furuhashi] and Liel Abada and they hit the ground running, which helped me to be able to continue that process.”