COMEBACK Bhoy Dedryck Boyata is determined to remain positive after two months of injury hell.
The centre-half saw his debut season at Celtic come to a sudden and agonising halt as he limped off with a hamstring injury during the first-half of the Scottish Cup semi-final shoot-out shocker at Hampden on April 17.
And the 25-year-old defender, bought by ex-boss Ronny Deila for £1million from Manchester City last summer, also failed to make the final Belgium international squad for the Euro 2016 Championships in France.
But Boyata made his first appearance for Brendan Rodgers during the second string’s 2-0 loss against Inter Milan in Limerick at the weekend.
He played the entire first-half before making way for Efe Ambrose and said: “It’s been a long time and it feels good to be back on the pitch and be able to kick the ball in front of the fans.
“It’s been really frustrating, but I have got over it. I had an injury in the Scottish Cup game and I had another injury when I was with the national team, so I missed the Euros and pre-season.
“However, that’s life. I have worked really hard over the past few months to get back on the pitch, so it felt really good.
“We know how football is – there are ups and downs. If you concentrate on the downs, you are never going to go forward.
“Football is my life and being on the pitch is what I do best.”
Boyata continued: “It was mentally tough for the people around me, too, and it should have been the best two months of my life, but it wasn’t. Now it’s about thinking of the future and I keep going.
“Naturally, I just have to take things step by step. Of course, I want to be back on the pitch as quickly as possible.
“I played 45 minutes on Saturday and we have to see how it goes in the following days and weeks. I feel good, but you don’t want to over-step it.
“There are a lot of positives from this game. The result wasn’t in our favour, but we did well. There are still things to work on. Conceding a goal in the last seconds before half-time is not something that should happen.
”I only started training last Monday with the team and, for me, it was all about just getting back in the side and trying to get a feel of the ball.”
Meanwhile CQN tomorrow publishes Ten Months of Celtic Heaven – THAT SEASON IN PARADISE. You won’t want to miss it!
Available now exclusively from www.cqnbookstore.com