LIAM SCALES played his seventeenth first-team game this season in Celtic’s 2-0 loss against Lazio in Rome.
The Republic of Ireland international defender has been involved in every minute of the team’s ill-fated Champions League crusade which started in Rotterdam, moved to Parkhead against the Serie A outfit and then the double-header against Atletico Madrid.
Scales, 25, was still in place in the Olimpico and there is every likelihood he will partner Cameron Carter-Vickers when the curtain comes down on the all-too-brief European adventure against Feyenoord under the lights in the east end of Glasgow in 13 days’ time.
It’s been a steep – and often brutal – learning curve for the Dubliner.
ON GUARD…Liam Scales watches as Joe Hart collects a low ball.
Just look at these images in the build-up to the Italian side’s second and clinching goal on Tuesday night. Scales was up against 33-year-old Ciro Immobile, a striker who has scored over 200 goals for Lazio, and the wily veteran took advantage of his rival’s relative inexperience.
The defender looked to be set to head clear when he was clearly nudged by his opponent. It was a split-second moment of impact, but it was enough to knock the Irishman out of his stride.
That was all Immobile required to gather the ball, trick his way past Carter-Vickers and fire a close-range drive past the exposed Joe Hart.
The crafty frontman even had a glance at Turkish referee Humut Meler who saw nothing untoward with his challenge on the Celt.
That was the go-ahead for the prolific hitman to race off and celebrate with his team-mates.
Scales complained to the match official, but his protests fell on deaf ears.
The £600,000 recruit from Shamrock Rovers in August 2021, who spent last season on loan at Aberdeen, realises he will have to grow up FAST to survive at this level.
Take a look for yourself.
THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT…Liam Scales leaps to head clear as Ciro Immobile nudges the Celt.
DOWN AND OUT…Scales hits the turf as the striker moves onto the ball.
TWISTER…Immobile steps inside Cameron Carter-Vickers.
BY THE LEFT…the Lazio striker prepares to fire in a shot.
PICK IT OUT…Hart is helpless and the ball is in the net. Scales (extreme right) shouts foul.
HEY REF…Scales appeals to the match official as the frontman races away.
QUICK GLANCE…Immobile sneaks a swift look in the ref’s direction to make sure the goal is good.
CHEERS AND TEARS…Hart joins Scales in his protest, but the ref is unmoved and the 86th-minute strike is allowed to stand. Immobile celebrates with his team-mates – and knows he has got away with one.