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‘GREAT TO BE BACK,’ ARMSTRONG

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STUART ARMSTRONG is aiming to emulate last season and end this campaign on a high.

And the refreshed Celtic midfielder admitted he now feels like a completely different player after January’s successful hernia operation.

Armstrong made his first start in 2018 when he scored in the 3-0 win over Ross County at the weekend and he kept his place in the goalless draw against Dundee at Parkhead in midweek.

The Hoops are now 10 points ahead of nearest challengers Aberdeen as they zero in on an unprecedented double treble.

Brendan Rodgers’ men take on Sevco Rangers at Hampden in the Scottish Cup semi-final a week on Sunday and Armstrong is determined to play his part as the team head for history.

He said: “It’s never nice being injured, and I’m probably not the most patient of people either, which isn’t a great combination.

“But it was something that needed to be sorted and I’m glad it has, as it was affecting the way I wanted to play.

“I feel a completely different player having had it sorted. Celtic were excellent in getting one of the best hernia specialists to sort it out. I’m really happy and the procedure was very good.”

The 26-year-old playmaker added: “The combination of the hectic season and its success and then the quick turnaround in the summer, coming back for the Champions League qualifiers and the league games, you never really get that rest you probably need.

“We never had any real time off because of the international games stuck in the middle.

“You come into the European campaign and then you think that the next six months of your life is just going to be football.

“The schedule is so hectic with all the games and travelling and the energy you are putting into that. It’s not an easy thing to do, spending all that time solely on football.

“It’s important sometimes to get away from football, mentally and physically, to refresh.”

Armstrong is likely to team up again with skipper Scott Brown in midfield against Hamilton Accies on Sunday as the Hoops chase their seventh successive title.

* Armstrong was speaking to The Celtic View.on sale now.

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