PLAUDITS are all well and good. But what Celtic and Ange Postecoglou need now is points.

Postecoglou’s team were widely lauded last week after going toe to toe with Real Madrid for the best part of an hour, before eventually succumbing to a 3-0 defeat.

The warm words of praise that followed from their victorious opponents proved cold comfort to Postecoglou though, who wants his team to marry their aggressive, attacking style with a killer instinct in the second of their Champions League group games against Shakhtar Donetsk here in Warsaw tonight.

“We didn’t win last week,” Postecoglou said. “I said after the game that we were disappointed with that. 

“Look, Champions League football is always demanding because every team wants to win and every win you get is hard earned. So we’ve got to perform at our absolute best for the whole game to get something out of it. 

“You can do both [play well and win]. That’s our intent. We want to play our football and win. I don’t think they are mutually exclusive.

“When we play our football and play well it gives us our best chance of success. We don’t need to change our approach, we just need to play at a good level for the duration and hopefully that’s enough.”

When Group F was drawn, the Celtic support understandably focused on the glamour ties against Real Madrid, while many surmised that the other two teams in their section offered them a decent shot at qualification.

Postecoglou though is just as wary of the threats posed by Shakhtar Donetsk as he was by those posed by Carlo Ancelotti’s superstars last week, and he believes that his Celtic team will also have to match the understandably heightened motivation of the Ukrainians.

“You’ve got to respect what their whole nation has been through and their people are still going through,” he said.

“Obviously the football team is a source of pride for them and I’m sure for everyone who players for Shakhtar or the national team carries that out on the field. 

“That’s something we’ve got to be respectful of, but it’s a football match and, from our perspective, every team we play in this Champions League, we know it’s got to be a tough opponent for different reasons. 

“We’ve got to be ready for it.”

If Celtic were in any danger of not being ready for that challenge, then surely Shakhtar’s 4-1 defeat of RB Leipzig last week would have dispelled any notion that the match is going to be anything other than a rigorous test.

“It was obviously a great result for them,” said Postecoglou. “Playing away in the Champions League is always a tough encounter particularly when you are playing a team with the quality of Leipzig. 

“They did well. They were very dangerous on the counter-attack and have some very good individual players. They played with a real energy. They are a tough opponent. 

“Every team’s got its dangers at this level. There is not any team that doesn’t have its threats. We’ve got to be aware of that but from our perspective it’s about trying to perform at a level we know can give us a chance of success. 

“Against Real, we did that for a certain amount of the game. We’ve just got to make sure we stay committed to our football for the duration of the match. 

“If we do that we’ll have a good chance of success.”

Celtic didn’t have a game at the weekend of course following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, and Postecoglou hopes the break from action may have allowed his players to fully recover from the tests against Rangers and Real Madrid.

“If we’d had a game it would have been good, but we trained instead,” he said.

“The good thing is the majority of the squad is healthy and in good physical condition.

“Obviously we had two big games last week against Rangers and Real and our physical numbers and the way the players got through was really positive.

“We have used the days in training just to make sure we maintain that level of fitness and make sure we are in good condition for tomorrow.”

Star striker Kyogo is back to full fitness after recovering from the shoulder injury he picked up in the recent win over Rangers, meaning that only Carl Starfelt and James McCarthy – who was left behind in Glasgow after feeling ill – will miss out for Celtic.

New signing Oliver Abildgaard is in the squad, but Postecoglou revealed that he is still working his way back to full sharpness after missing out on pre-season and is unlikely to feature, certainly from the start of the game.

“We’ll see,” he said. “Oli is working his way through his fitness so he’ll be in the squad but he’s still got a bit of work to do.

“It’s fair to say as he missed all of pre-season and has been training by himself. We’ve just got to be careful with him but he’s in the squad, so we’ll see.”