LIAM SCALES played in all six of Celtic’s six Champions League games this season and won the Man of the Match accolade after the Hoops’ 2-1 midweek win over Feyenoord.
However, the 25-year-old Republic of Ireland international acknowledged he has a lot to prove at his boyhood idols as he admits: “I haven’t achieved much here.”
It appeared Scales’ career at Parkhead was over in the summer when it seemed likely he would return to Aberdeen in a second successive season-long loan deal.
PICK IT OUT…Liam Scales races away in triumph after scoring Celtic’s final goal in a 3-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice in December 2021. Benji Siegrist, a current team-mate at Parkhead, is the beaten keeper.
Injuries to Cameron Carter-Vickers, summer recruit Maik Nawrocki and Stephen Welsh thrust the Dubliner into focus for Brendan Rodgers as he sought to rebuild his central defence.
Scales stepped up and proved to be a more than capable deputy – a fact emphasised in the victory in the Glasgow derby at Ibrox when he produced a heroic performance as the visitors claimed three crucial points with Kyogo Furuhashi volleying in the only goal of a tense afternoon in a toxic atmosphere.
Reflecting on the possibility of a move back to Pittodrie before the transfer window closed on September 1, the centre-back said: “I didn’t know where I was going to be and what I was going to be doing.
“I never foresaw this. I am delighted with how it has worked out. I got a bit of luck with injuries. I wouldn’t say it’s a turnaround, I don’t think I was going in the wrong direction in the first place.
“But it has kicked on now. I always felt if I got a chance to play consistently here I could do well. It was just about getting that chance.
“With the quality of the squad, it was going to be difficult. For it to go the way it has since I have got in has been brilliant. I just need to keep playing the way I have been playing and stay hungry.
“We want to win trophies. I haven’t achieved much here.
HAMPDEN HEROES…Liam Scales (second left, back row) celebrates with Callum McGregor and Co after Celtic’s 2-1 League Cup Final triumph over Hibs in December 2021 – the first of five trophies in the Ange Postecoglou reign.
“In the first season I was here, we won the League Cup and the Premiership, but I didn’t feature that much. Going out on loan last season, I missed out on a successful season. I want to have that for myself.”
Scales, who will almost certainly line up in his usual position of the left side of the champions’ centre-back pairing against Hearts at Parkhead tomorrow, reflected on the triumph over the Dutch and continued: “It was the peak of my campaign, but I wouldn’t say it’s my peak in general.
“Look, I just need to not get complacent, keep on doing what I have been doing.
“Over the six games, we’ve had tough stages, we have played with nine men and 10 men in games. I have had to sort of dig in and learn how to cope at this level.
“I feel like Wednesday was the peak of it for me. I am just glad I could help the team, but it is a nice personal achievement to get that in the locker.
“I just need to stay hungry. It is a cliche, I suppose, but I just need to make sure I don’t get complacent and keep playing as many games as I can.”
HAIL, HAIL…Liam Scales and Gustaf Lagerbielke celebrate at the final whistle following the 2-1 Champions League win over Feyenoord at Parkhead.
Scales hailed his comeback team-mate Stephen Welsh, playing his first game in four months, and matchwinner Gustaf Lagerbielke and, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “The depth of the squad is amazing. Welshy came in and he was brilliant for 75 minutes.
“He obviously hasn’t played much football, he is just back from an injury. To get through 75 minutes at that intensity was a big achievement for him. He was top class.
“Then Gus comes on and gets the winner. He has had to be patient to get minutes, so I am delighted that he came on and got the winner. I don’t think anyone could have deserved it more.”