CELTIC loan Bhoy Paulo Bernardo celebrates his 22nd birthday today.
The gifted playmaker made a false start to his Hoops career after joining from Benfica on a season-long temporary deal in the summer.
However, Bernardo has taken off with some eye-catching performances before the turn of the year, most notably his glittering display in the Glasgow derby when his thunderous right-foot volley almost took the net away from behind Jack Butland to give the Hoops a first-half advantage.
DERBY DELIGHT…Paulo Bernardo wallops in the opener in the 2-1 win over the Ibrox side on December 30.
The 20 times-capped Portuguese Under-21 midfielder played his part after the interval as a wonder strike from Koyogo Furuhashi gave Brendan Rosgers’ men a crucial 2-1 win at a packed and rocking Parkhead.
It’s a dramatic change in fortunes for Bernardo who was on loan at second-tier Paco de Ferreira this time last year. The minnows’ stadium capacity is short of 10,000 seats.
The stylish middle-of-the-park operator, who opened the scoring in the 3-0 win at Dundee on Boxing Day and did likewise in the 5-0 Scottish Cup romp against Buckie Thistle in the east end of Glasgow at the weekend, is under contract at the Lisbon giants until June 30 2027.
THAT’S MY BHOY…Brendan Rodgers hugs Paulo Bernardo after his display in the 3-0 victory at Dundee on Boxing Day. Kyogo Furuhashi gets in on the act.
It’s unclear of the price tag in the option-to-buy contract, but is believed to be around £6million and Rodgers is being urged to get Bernardo on permanent terms in the summer.
We are likely to get another glimpse of his skills when Ross County provide the opposition at Parkhead on Saturday.
CQN readers and Celtic fans everywhere wish Paul Bernardo a wonderful 22nd birthday and hope he enjoys continued success in the hoops.