MORITZ BAUER hailed the Celtic fans after his loan deal officially expired and he returned to Stoke City.

The Austrian right-back bade an emotional farewell after his season-long loan deal came to an end.

Posting on his Instagram account, Bauer described his experience at the nine-in-a-row champions as a “lifetime memory” while paying a special tribute to the club’s supporters.The 28-year-old international said: “I want to thank the whole @celticfc community! I learnt from great staff, played with incredible players and won my first league title.

“But nothing compares to playing at Celtic Park in front of all you supporters. What a lifetime memory!

“I wish you all the best for the upcoming season.”

Bauer was brought in by Neil Lennon in the summer along with Israeli Hatem Abd Elhamed, who cost £1.25million from Hapoel Be’er Sheva, as the Hoops boss searched to strengthen the No.2 position after the exits of Mikael Lustig and Cristian Gamboa at the end of their contracts.

The full-back started steadily enough and made 13 appearances, four as a substutute, but was pushed into the shadows by the startling emergence of Dutch teen sensation Jeremie Frimpong who arrived on deadline day from Manchester City.

Bauer had been training with Lennon’s side at Lennoxtown in recent weeks, but will now return to the English Championship club.

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