JEREMIE FRIMPONG was an unknown from Manchester City when he signed on deadline day on September 1 last year.
The Amsterdam-born right-back made his debut in the 5-0 Betfred League Cup victory over Partick Thistle at Parkhead 24 days later – and a star was born.
Frimpong became an immediate hit with the Hoops support and manager Neil Lennon gave him a massive vote of confidence when he selected him for the competition’s grande finale when the club lifted their TENTH successive domestic trophy with a 1-0 triumph over Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side on December 8.
The 19-year-old defender saw red in the 64th minute – only moments after Christopher Jullien’s eventual winner – but it did not halt his rapid progress as he made 19 first-team appearances.
Now, almost a year on, the exciting youngster is a regular in Neil Lennon’s plans and he has expressed his gratitude to all at Parkhead.
Frimpong, speaking to Daily Record, said: “I feel really settled at Celtic now and I need to thank my team-mates for that. I love them all to bits.
“The gaffer and the staff have been great with me and I feel really comfortable now. I get on well with all the players in the squad and it has been a great 12 months for me.”
Frimpong played further forward in the 3-2 weekend win over Livingston with Lennon going for a 3-5-2 formation and he admitted he’ll play anywhere in any system.
He said: “I don’t mind the three or four at the back. It’s up to the manager, but the 3-5-2 probably does give me more freedom to go up and down the wing.
“I got forward a lot against Livingston and it suits me. I just try to play free and use my strengths to help the team.
“Our squad is so strong that even our bench looks amazing. That keeps us all on our toes.
“There are challenges every day. People want to take your position off you. We know the manager will make changes. There are so many games and people will pick up injuries.
“But that is why you have the strong squad and there is so much quality here.”
Shane Duffy and Albian Ajeti, two of Lennon’s summer acquisitions, have also hit the ground running in their Hoops careers and Frimpong praised the new Bhoys.
He added: “Shane is such a strong asset for us and he is unbelievable in the air.
“Nobody can beat him to a header. He is big, strong and really helps to strengthen the defence. You can hear him shout for the ball from a long way away.
“He talks a lot and really motivates us. He is a leader for the team, another captain.
“Albian is a natural finisher and I am really happy for him. He has worked hard in training since he came to the club.
“He came here to help us and to score goals and that is what he is doing. He is so cool in front of goal. He shows total composure, but that’s a top striker for you. He never panics when he gets a chance.
“You also see his strength in holding the ball up and that is so important for the team.
“There are times when we play it up to him and we need Albian to take it in and let us get up the pitch.
“He is really good at that. He has made a great start and will only get stronger. We have a great mix of strikers now. They all have their own qualities and that is so important.
“Every game is different and they will all have a big role to play for the team.”