ANTHONY RALSTON admits his debt to Brendan Rodgers after signing a new four-year deal.
The Celtic and Scotland defender first joined the club at the age of eight in 2007, became a professional at 16 and made his first-team debut a year later.
Rodgers played his part at the beginning of Ralston’s first-team career at the champions and the duo were reunited in June after a four-and-a-half year interlude when the Irishman returned to take charge of the club following his stint at Leicester City.
The right-back said: “I’m absolutely delighted, it’s a great feeling to sign with your boyhood club on a new contract.
THE RUNNING MAN…Anthony Ralston surges into attack.
“It never gets old, that feeling of being able to put pen to paper to secure your future where you want to be.
“Essentially, this is where I want to play my football and it’s another proud moment in my career.
“I just put my head down every day and worked hard since I signed my last contract two years ago and it’s just been a case of going in, getting work done, doing my best for the team and helping to bring success.
“And I feel that, as a team, we’ve managed to do that, and within that players get their rewards.”
Speaking of Rodgers, the non-stop back-four performer told Celtic TV: “It’s been brilliant to work under him again. I got to work under him when I was younger, when I was 17 or 18. I learned a lot at that point in time and I’ve taken that into the years gone by.
“And with him being back in again, it’s exciting for everybody to be learning under him and progressing again further.
“That’s what I’m looking to do and I’m sure he would have been a factor in the new deal, which I’m very thankful for and I’ve let him know that in private.
“But it’s a great moment for me and my family and everyone involved and I’m looking forward to now progressing my game further.”
THE WAY WE WERE…Brendan Rodgers and Anthony Ralston in a game at Rugby Park in 2017.
Ralston added: “It means the world, it’s a cliché to say. I signed my first contract here when I was an eight-year-old kid and you signed yearly.
“But to get to this point and to be signing for another four years, and I’m 24 now, it’s been an incredible journey that myself and my family have been on.
“To come through the ranks and now to be able to extend that and play more, I never take it for granted. I really do love playing here and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
Ralston is just one of six players to commit their future to the Parkhead club in recent times, following captain Callum McGregor, Japanese double-act Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda, Israeli international winger Liel Abada and centre-back Stephen Welsh.