Thomas Rogne claims Celtic will still have to work hard to defend their Clydesdale Bank Premier League title this season despite the absence of Rangers.
The Hoops are overwhelming favourites to win the championship, with their Old Firm rivals voted into the Irn-Bru Third Division after the club was consigned to liquidation.
However, Rogne said: "I hear people saying that we are going to win the league easily but that's not going to happen. I don't know why they say it. To provoke a little bit probably."
He added: "It's going to be tough. It's always going to be tough winning games and it's going to be tough to win the league."
Celtic's competitive campaign begins on Wednesday when they host HJK Helsinki in a Champions League qualifier at Parkhead. Rogne says experience of the Europa League last term has made Neil Lennon's men even more determined to take their place among the continent's elite this time around.
"We've got a chance to get into Europe and that's important for us," he said. "We played in the Europa League last year and we enjoyed it.
"If we get the chance to play in the Champions League this year, it's going to be even bigger. It's where everyone wants to be and hopefully we can take a Scottish team into the Champions League.
"It's our first competitive game so obviously we want to win the game and kick on for the season. If we get the chance to play in the Champions League at Celtic Park in front of the best fans in the world, that would be amazing."
Meanwhile, Rogne admits no further progress has been made over the summer with regards to signing a new deal with the Scottish champions. The Norwegian has spoken publicly of his desire to remain with Celtic as he heads into the final year of his current contract.
He said: "I've not heard anything yet. There are always a few people on holiday in the summer so things don't really move that fast. I'm still the same, I want to stay here. I enjoy the club and I enjoy the life so this is the place for me to be."