IT would be a stretch for anyone to describe the recent experience of Scottish clubs in the Champions League as ‘fun’, but then, as a newcomer to these shores, Gustaf Lagerbielke likely hasn’t been bruised by that chequered history. Either that, or the Celtic centre-back has something of a masochistic streak.

Regardless, there was excitement in his voice instead of trepidation as he considered last night’s draw in Monaco which paired the Scottish champions with Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid and Lazio.

Such things are relative of course, but the way those little starry balls fell for Celtic means that Group E could even be described as something of a favourable draw, given that Brendan Rodgers and his men avoided any of the continent’s true big guns.

READ MORE: Luis Palma on Rangers link as Celtic star wanted 'one team'

The most optimistic summation would be that the draw gives them a fair shake at making third place in the group, and at a push, even offers an outside squeak at the knockout stages of the tournament. And if Lagerbielke’s mood is a gauge of the Celtic squad as a collective, then that is the way they will be approaching it.

The Swedish defender has had something of a baptism of fire at the club since his arrival a mere fortnight ago, but his enthusiasm remains undimmed. And he says that the Celtic players have to believe that they are not going into their section to make up the numbers, but to make the last 16.

“The group looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Lagerbielke said.

“To play against those teams is going to be a challenge of course, as it always is in the Champions League, but it’s going to be a fun challenge.

“Like every other competition, we aim to go as far as possible.

“We’re Celtic and we have these kind of supporters [who expect us to win]. But we also want to win every game, so we have a high expectation on ourselves too.

“We’ll do everything we can to win these games and there is no exception in the Champions League.

“I’m really excited, it’s going to be really nice. When you are a young boy you look forward to playing in the Champions League, and now we will get the chance, so it’s going to be pretty fun.

“In every competition we aim to go as far as possible, and even in the Champions League we of course will look to advance to the further stages.

“Like every competition, every game, it is a chance to win. We go to win every single game and to get through to the next round, always.

“So, that is our ambition, and we will do our best to get there.”

As proof positive of his relentless, well, positivity, Lagerbielke goes on to put a wonderful spin on his bow for his former side Elfsborg, which just so happened to be against one of Celtic’s forthcoming Champions League opponents.

“I made my debut for Elfsborg against Feyenoord away,” he said.

“It was a good atmosphere, my first game for Elfsborg and my first European game. It was one of many new experiences, but it was Coronavirus then, so they couldn’t fill the stadium. 

“It was still a good atmosphere anyway – though we lost 5-0. I came on when it was 5-0 with 20 minutes to go – after that it stayed 0-0.”

So, a shut out for the irrepressible Swede.

READ MORE: Celtic discover Champions League group stage opponents

Like any typical young man in his homeland, most of Lagerbielke’s knowledge of Celtic growing up was in the form of anecdotes passed down about the prowess of a certain Henrik Larsson, but tucked away in the recesses of his mind are also memories of famous Celtic Park Champions League nights watched from afar, and particularly the one featuring a certain Tony Watt.

“I look forward to all the games, and the videos I’ve seen of the European nights here are special,” he said.

“The one thing you know about Celtic in Sweden is games in the Champions League like when they won against Barcelona at home 2-1.

“It’s those kind of nights and the atmosphere here [that Celtic is renowned for], so it’s going to be great fun.

“The Champions League is the main thing you watch when you are growing up, and I remember watching the Celtic against Barcelona game.

“I remember Celtic not having that much possession, but the still won anyway, and that was a nice piece of Celtic history.

“Hopefully we can create new memories.”

And what that night – now over a decade ago - showed, of course, was that anything is possible in this game.

“Yes, and that is the beauty of football, no matter how big or small of a team you are, you can always win a game,” he said.

“We go into every game to compete, and of course, we aim to win the games we play.”

The next one of those, of course, is a doozy, with Celtic travelling across Glasgow – minus their supporters – for the first Old Firm derby of the season.

It continues the eye-opening start to life in Scotland for Lagerbielke, whose faith in Celtic’s capacity to get a result remains undimmed despite their recent struggles. They are the champions of Scotland, after all, and Lagerbielke is certain they can go to Ibrox and prove why that is the case.

“There’s a great rivalry between the two clubs and it’s going to be a special feeling playing in it,” he said.

“Hopefully we can make the Celtic supporters cheer from their homes.

“You know what it’s about just from the atmosphere and everyone’s excited and really wants to win. They said it’s going to be loud. It will be a good challenge for us as a team and trying to hold together as a group. And try to get a good result from there. 

“Hammarby has good supporters and a good atmosphere when they score. Them or one of the other Stockholm teams always have a high volume. 

“I think [Ibrox] is going to be a whole new level. It’ll be a lot of fun. 

“Every game is a chance to prove ourselves as reigning champions and we always put that pressure on ourselves. But there’s going to be extra spice playing at Ibrox.

“We’ll be going to win.”