Everything Celtic's assistant manager John Kennedy said to the media ahead of tomorrow's game against Hearts at Celtic Park in the Scottish Premiership...

How’s the mood around the club after Wednesday’s big win?

It's been good. The result lifted the spirits in terms of finishing the campaign with a win. In the games where we had a man sent off we didn’t have a chance in them, then the couple of home games where we felt that we could have taken more from them, so it was good for the boys to feel that. Even just the level of performance, because they're a very good side and it was a really competitive game. We eased our way into it, but I think after 20-25 minutes we came to life. We took belief in the way we wanted to play, and we created a lot of opportunities and chances and went on and won the game, so it gave the players a lot of belief. A lot of new guys coming in, younger players as well as the guys that have been around the block a bit, so to get a win to put that record to bed and we’ll take great confidence going forward with that.

Are you hopeful that you can not only take this into Europe next season but also domestically?

That’s the most important thing now. The game the other night was really important, regardless of what the outcome was going to bring. We knew we couldn’t qualify, but for us, it was about showing ourselves in the best light at that level which we did. We’re really positive, and again you’ve just got to build on that and go into the next game and concentrate on the domestic stuff. We've got to concentrate on performances and not get drawn into ‘you must win every game’ and the pressure and everything else. That’s by the by and we just need to concentrate on our performances and making sure everybody’s on the same page and doing their jobs. When we do that, we put in good performances which brings results. That’s the primary focus now.

Injury-wise, are Cameron Carter-Vickers and Daizen Maeda available?

They’ll both come into the squad tomorrow. They're good, Liel Abada is still working through rehab so he's a couple of weeks away. Reo Hatate is slightly behind him, but apart from that we’re pretty good.

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About the centre-back situation with Carter-Vickers coming back into full fitness now, you have as many as six or seven centre-backs. How do you view that, and do you think there will be a primary pairing that will emerge? Scales has played really well so far this season. Cameron’s been here for two years and has been brilliant. What do you see?

It's a position where we have a lot of players. In January there's going to have to be a couple that will go and get game-time elsewhere and trim the squad down a little bit. If anything, we’re carrying a lot of numbers, so there will be a lot on the periphery who we just need to go and get game-time or maybe move on. Everyone will have their own agenda on that. When it comes to it, there's going to be four or five centre-backs in every squad, and at that point, it's a case of competing with each other and pushing each other and being ready to step in whenever you’re called upon. Stephen Welsh the other night, he hadn’t featured in a long time as he was unfortunate in picking up an ankle injury early on this season. He came in out of nowhere and performed the way he did, which he did really well. That’s what you’ve got to be ready for, there could be suspensions or an injury. Cameron is the one whose been the most consistent over the years and is an important player for us. I think everybody sees that, but that all changes on a week-by-week basis. You’ve got to be ready to play, and when you come in you’ve got to give the team your all.

You’ve got several international options at the back that have come in from different countries. Can that help promote competition, especially for someone like Welsh who has been here for so many years?

The toughest thing sometimes can be when they're left out. It's often a position where you can go light on your bench and elect to go a bit top-heavy with attacking options. There are sometimes international players who are left out of the squad at times. That’s up to us to control that, but we do have a good group of players. We have no issues with them out there (training) as they work really hard. The guys that come in and train with the actual squad, we never have an issue with, so that’s positive. We need to control the numbers a little bit better when January comes around and get the squad number down to a more manageable level. In terms of what the players are giving us on the training pitch, we can't ask any more in terms of attitude and contribution. You hope that that best prepares them when they have to go out and play.

Was there a sense of relief amongst the players after the win on Wednesday in terms of a clean slate in Europe next season if you qualify for the Champions League?

I don’t think it's a clean slate, I think there's a lot of talk and people build up the whole ‘you’ve not won in so long’ argument, so it just kind of shuts that down. For us, it was all about performance. If anything, we were more disappointed that we didn’t pick up something earlier, especially in the home game vs Lazio where you go up one end and our goal is ruled out by a minimal amount, and then all of a sudden you concede. That’s the level that we are at, so it's important to shift it in the other direction on that line where we’re falling just short for a period of time now. Hopefully, the belief that the other night can bring, that we can go and compete with the teams at the level. There are the elite teams that you have to be at your very best to win but we've just got to go out and play the way we want to play. We know when we do that and commit to it, it gives teams problems. You saw that the other night, when the game was close going into the last five minutes, then there was a shift in our mindset in terms of taking the game to Feyenoord and gradually pushing them back. They still had their moments as well, because they're a good side, but it was almost like the fear got stripped back and thinking too much about the pressure and result and what might come. It was just about attacking every moment and doing the best in every moment of attack that we have and doing what we’re comfortable doing. Hopefully, that will bring more positive results. We want to take belief from it but ultimately it's about making sure domestically we’re looking after ourselves, then that will hopefully come around next season.

It's another milestone for Liam Scales as he was player of the match and in a winning Champions League match. How much has his rise been inspirational to other players in the squad? Liam has gone from not knowing where he would be in the summer to being man of the match in a big European game.

It is great and it is a testament to how hard he has worked. He has taken his opportunity and that's what you have to be ready to do here. There is a lot of competition. Sometimes you have to be patient but for Liam, the opportunity came early in the season and he got a run of games. Since then he has held his own and that's why he has had a run in the team. The centre-backs have all been pretty much fit and because of the performances he has been putting in that has kept him in the team. That's where we are at. We just have to keep working hard and everyone knows if you do drop your standards and come off the boil there will be someone waiting to take your position and that is healthy for the group.

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There was another huge moment for Matt O'Riley with his assist for Gustaf Lagerbielke to win the game. How close is he to reaching the level that the manager said he could in the summer?

What the level is, I don't know because he is certainly growing with every game he plays. In terms of when Matt came in and the level he came from he has embraced everything that we do here. He is fully committed to everything he does. Going back to the group we have and the individuals within that group everyone is here to be the best version of themselves. They come in and they want to work with the coaches and they want to work with the science team, they want to recover properly, they want to go through all their analysis, that's all part of the development. That's what Matt has fully embraced. He has taken that part of it on. As soon as he gets into his rhythm he gets confidence from his performances at a top, top level. You can see him growing and growing and it is up to him how far he goes because he has been terrific for us this season. In terms of the challenge for him, it was about ending more end product to his game. He has got everything. He covers the ground well, he is a good size and technically he is very good. Now you see the other part of his game where he can go and assist and score important goals. He is a really important player for us and that is down to how he has worked. Everybody has to be of the same mindset and take the same stance of being the best version of yourself and that gives you the best chance to go on and perform the way Matt is at the moment.

How important psychologically is it to add another three points on the board when your closest rivals are not playing in the league?

It comes back to performance. We need to concentrate on performance first and when the three points come that is the outcome of that more often than not. That's why we don't want to get too caught up in what is the gap now and we need the points and everything else. We just concentrate on what makes us a good side. When we come away from that and we start thinking too much that's when things slow down and you start second guessing yourself. For us, it is just a full commitment to the way we play and we know if we do that then more often than not it will bring results and that brings the points which give you the lead you are sitting with at the moment.

Is that a big challenge for you as a coach because you lost last weekend and there was a big fallout from it? How do you get the players to focus on performance rather than the consequences and how does that process work for you?

It is the same process when you win a game. There is maybe an added pressure if someone is listening to the press or the media and fans or everything else but ultimately when we get them in this building we can control the message. It is very much about this is what we did well. This is what we didn't do well. We have addressed the second-half performance last week in terms of the fact that it is an example of Kilmarnock putting a bit more pressure on us and coming away from the way we play. We ended up playing a game where the ball ended up more in the air than it did on the ground. For us, that is not the way we play. The second-half team did not look like us. Framing that for the players is all about telling them that if you let the pressure get to you and you come away from your key principles then the game can turn in any direction. We lost control of the game because we came away from the way we played and Kilmarnock had a bit of pressure but we know we can handle that. We showed them examples of Atletico Madrid pressing us at Celtic Park and playing through it with no problem. There were examples of a very good side in midweek coming and pressing and we played through that and we created chances from it. It is all in the mind, in terms of that respect. The players have been great and they have embraced that and taken it on board. Hopefully, going forward we can be really strong in our convictions and how we play.

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Can I ask you about Daizen Maeda who has been out for five or six weeks? How important is he to the way Celtic want to play with the speed, energy, and pressing as well?

He is important. The team has been a bit interrupted with injuries but the guys who have maybe been on the fringes have come in and done a good job. Carter-Vickers is a really good player. Reo has missed the last chunk of the season and Abada has missed most of the season. They are all really important players for us and they contribute a lot and they have done. Going back to Daizen he is the trigger for a lot of that in terms of our intensity. The game we want to play relies on us keeping the intensity levels as high as we can and Daizen's energy triggers a lot of that for us, in terms of shutting down the time teams get to set up attacks. Even if a team want to play direct he can get to the ball without them playing accurate long balls. On the flip side of that he attacks the back line and penetrates any kind of space that the opposition leaves. Having speed in our team is important. It is an important aspect. When he is not there you recognise that. To be fair, he is an absolute machine and I think he wanted to get involved before now but we had to put the reins on him a touch because he still had a bit of an injury going on. He's a great lad. He has a terrific work rate and he is a very important player for us.

A quick word on Hearts and what you expect from them?

Steven (Naismith) has done well and the last couple of results have not gone their way. The month before that they had a good run. They are always difficult to play against and they have set up a couple of different ways with a back five and a back four. We just need to concentrate on ourselves and we know the threats they carry and they can counter attack quickly. They have a goal threat with the front line they have. They are a strong, physical side and whilst we have got to respect that we have to go out with the mindset that it's about what we do on the day. We want to push them back and be as aggressive as we can.