Postecoglou's Celtic bloodied but unbowed

Ange Postecoglou has challenged his Celtic players to measure themselves against Champions League standards as they focus on domestic success for the remainder of the Scottish season.

Celtic ended their Champions League group campaign with just two points and a 5-1 defeat by Real Madrid on Wednesday but, amid the ruins, their Australian boss saw encouragement in how their attacking style had helped create chances.

Celtic this weekend host a Dundee United side they beat 9-0 in August, leaving Postecoglou to be asked at the club's annual general meeting on Friday how he planned to bridge the gulf between the Scottish Premiership and Europe's elite competition.

Postecoglou explained that exposing his players to the standards was the first major step, and added: "Everyone's got a plan until they get punched on the nose.

"Then you have to figure things out. We have taken some punches but we have exposed ourselves and measured ourselves and that will be our measure from this day onwards."

Speaking later at a media conference, Postecoglou expressed confidence Celtic would not be bruised by their defeat in Spain.

"To continue the analogy, I don't think we got knocked out," he said. "I still think we are clear-headed.

"There is no surprise in the level we faced and knowing we need to improve but as an exercise in testing ourselves and measuring ourselves, we did that. The players understand the levels required and it's up to us to chip away at that gap.

"You have to take that sort of mentality into your domestic competition.

"There is no point going through what we did this year and try and address it in 12 months' time if we qualify again, because you have wasted 12 months developing those areas.

"The idea is to take those learnings from the Champions League and put them into the Premiership and cup competitions and try and raise our level of football.

"I talk to the players about Champions League football and Champions League standards every day. There shouldn't be a difference to the way we prepare for Real Madrid or Dundee United."

Postecoglou is sure his players have already benefited from the experience.

"Time will tell with the way the players embrace that challenge but I have seen them grow through games, even though the results don't reflect that," he said.