NEW Bhoy Nat Phillips insists he can cope with the pressure at Celtic.
The centre-back, who has signed a loan deal from Liverpool until January, missed out on a quickfire debut in the champions’ 1-0 win at Ibrox, but still caught the flavour of a hectic Glasgow derby.
Phillips, whose dad Jimmy had a season at Rangers in 1987, agreed to the switch two days before Kyogo Furuhashi flashed in the points-clincher with a spectacular first-time volley in front of a partisan crowd in Govan.
The 26-year-old defender wasn’t deemed matchfit by Brendan Rodgers, but the player is hoping to get the nod for his baptism in the hoops against Dundee at Parkhead on Saturday afternoon.
PARADISE…new Bhoy Nat Phillips gets his first taste of Celtic Park after agreeing his loan switch from Liverpool.
Phillips said: “I’m now just itching to go and get into the games. I’m fit and ready to play now. I have had two weeks training under my belt, so we’ll see if I can get a game at the weekend. But I’m feeling good.
“The Rangers game just came a bit soon. There was some talk about maybe playing, but the important thing was the team got the win.
“I was at Ibrox – I just couldn’t go out into the stand! I was in the dressing room beforehand and at half-time and the end of the game to be amongst it all. But for the match itself, I watched it on TV in the media room.
“It could still hear the atmosphere from in there. It was an entertaining game to watch and quite intense at the end. But it was great to be there to support the boys.
“It whetted the appetite to play in a game like that. But at the same time I didn’t really need my appetite whetting any more. Seeing that game, and being in amongst it, just gave me a taste of what’s to come.
“I am already looking forward to the next one. The derby against Everton was my full debut for Liverpool. It was a good game. There were so many young lads playing in that game and we won 1-0.”
GETTING TO GRIPS…Nat Phillips is looking forward to his Hoops debut. Images courtesy Celtic TV.
Phillips, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “The big games are the ones you want to play in as a player. The ones with the atmospheres and a lot riding on them. They are often more than a game of football.
“My dad wants me to be playing games at a high level and that’s what I’ll hopefully be doing at Celtic.
“He’ll be coming up to visit and I know he enjoyed living in the city. But, generally, my dad, when we speak about my career, it’s mainly on a game-by-game basis. I’ll chat to him after games to see what he thinks.
“But in terms of the move itself he thought it was a great one for me.”
Phillips added: “Once you get a taste for playing, to go from playing to not playing is difficult. Every player wants to be playing regular football.
“Coming to Celtic, as far as I’ve thought of it myself, is Celtic want me and I want to go there and that’s it. I know there are a few injuries at the club at the moment, but even with that we’ve not gone any further.
“It’s just been a case of, ‘we need you now’ and I want to be playing football now.
“At Liverpool, there’s always a lot of pressure on the club to do well. So, I come here with experience of playing under pressure and dealing with it.”