Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou described Scottish football as a good fit for Australian players as he prepares to face a Hearts team which has been further bolstered by another arrival from his home country.
Defender Kye Rowles followed fellow Australians Cammy Devlin and Nathaniel Atkinson in joining Hearts this summer when he moved from Central Coast Mariners.
Ahead of Sunday’s Parkhead meeting in the cinch Premiership, former Australia head coach Postecoglou said: “It’s great for Australian football – it’s a good league for Australian players. It gives them a real stepping stone into Europe and it’s a tough league, a competitive league.
“Particularly with Hearts, Cammy Devlin coming in last year and doing really well probably encouraged them to look there again.
“Certainly with Nathaniel and Kye Rowles, who I have known for quite a while, they are good players and good characters.”
The likes of Livingston, Hibernian, Dundee United and St Johnstone have also recruited Australian players this summer while Celtic brought in Aaron Mooy following the departure of his Socceroos team-mate Tom Rogic.
Postecoglou said: “It’s good to see other Australians in the league, they can add something to this league but they will also be challenging themselves to perform because it’s a pretty competitive league.
“There’s always been a strong Australian influence here, we had our own obviously with Tommy being here and big Duks (Mark Viduka), Jackson Irvine came through here. Even at other clubs, Ryan McGowan has now come back.
“There has always been a strong Australian influence. There are parallels with the Australian league. One thing about Australian footballers, and sportsmen in general, they are really strong characters in a sporting sense, and with the league being so competitive here, I think it’s a good fit.”
Celtic take on a Hearts team who are in the midst of a Europa League play-off against Zurich.
The Jambos lost Craig Halkett to injury early in Thursday’s 2-1 first-leg defeat in Switzerland and Robbie Neilson could make other changes on Sunday with Thursday’s second leg in mind.
Postecoglou said: “You can see they have strengthened from last year squad-wise. They look a lot stronger.
“They had a fantastic year last year but they relied on a core group of players. Obviously with European football, they have had to expand their squad. On Thursday night they got an injury early but they were able to replace him.
“With Europe, I have always seen it as a positive experience for the players. They are still in the tie so they would have got some belief from Thursday night and it will be a tough test at the weekend.”