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Celtic will not spend frivolously over the summer, insists Ange Postecoglou

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has said their recruitment plans for the summer haven't changed despite confirmation this week that the Scottish champions will go straight into the Champions League group stages next season
By Gavin McCafferty

ANGE Postecoglou hopes guaranteed Champions League football can open up some new markets if Celtic clinch the title, but he is not planning to rip up his transfer strategy and start again.

Uefa this week confirmed the Scottish champions will go straight into the group stages, with Celtic all but assured of the title if they beat Hearts on Saturday.

Rangers could join them by winning the Europa League, but Celtic will not start making short-term decisions on spending an estimated £40million windfall.

Postecoglou, whose side started in the Champions League qualifiers on July 20 last year, said: "It's a great opportunity for us, not just to build, but we can structure our whole pre-season programme a little bit differently to what we have in recent years.

"There's a whole host of things that go along with it and, should we get over the line and get direct qualification, it gives us a real good opportunity to strategically plan next season with some certainty."

Postecoglou, who this week welcomed the appointment of Mark Lawwell as head of recruitment, added: "We know the areas we need to strengthen both on and off the field, and we have identified the areas that we need to recruit players in and get the squad to be stronger.

"I don't think being in the Champions League changes that too much from my perspective. It may make us a more attractive proposition for players who want to come to our club.

"That might open up another market for us. But it's not like we go from the club we are to a club that will spend on a different level.

"There's still certain disciplines around that, and my belief has always been that you have a plan and you try to stick to it irrespective of what comes your way, and it has proved successful for us this year.

"We want to replicate the success we have had in the transfer market by making sure we identify the right type of player rather than just looking for players in a different price bracket.

"This year, particularly the early part of the year, we probably didn't have the depth in quality in certain positions to be able to carry the workload of a 60-game season.

"We are still in the stages of really developing our players and game style and for me there's still areas where we could have more quality in terms of our depth and also the levels of performances we put in.

"There won't be the amount of activity that we had last year, but the activity we have will be significant in that we are hopefully going to bring in players that will improve us immediately rather than bring players in who will just add to the squad."

Two of the major successes in the transfer market this season were the loan signings of Tottenham defender Cameron Carter-Vickers and Benfica winger Jota and re-signing them would be significant pieces of business this summer.

Postecoglou said: "We are in discussions with them obviously and, as I have said all along, with these kind of things it's never a simple process.

"But both had unbelievable years for us and been outstanding contributors and both are really happy here. Our intent is to try and keep them at our football club, but these things need a point where all parties agree.

"I am hopeful we will get to that point, but at this point we are not quite there yet."

Celtic will go nine points and at least 20 goals clear of Rangers if they beat Hearts, but the visitors have nothing to lose after sealing third spot already.

"They have had a strong season and been really solid in that third position," Postecoglou said.

"Every game against them has been a good game. But we sit where we are because of our own performances and we have had to overcome some pretty determined challenges in recent weeks."

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