JEREMIE FRIMPONG reckons it has taken him only a handful of months to transform from a Bhoy to a man.
The 19-year-old Dutch sensation, who has just been voted Celtic’s Young Player of the Year, was a virtual unknown when Neil Lennon snapped him up from Manchester City on the last day of the transfer deadline on September 2.
Frimpong made an eye-catching debut in the 5-0 Betfred League Cup victory over Partick Thistle at Parkhead on September 25.
Remarkably, he picked up his first-ever medal in the same competition on December 8 when a Christopher Jullien goal was enough to defeat Steven Gerrrard’s Ibrox hopefuls.
It was a fairly unforgettable afternoon in the south side of Glasgow for the teenager who was sent off in the 64th minute – four minutes after the Frenchman’s glory strike – when referee Willie Collum awarded the opposition a penalty-kick when Alfredo Morelos went down after a tame challenge from the right-back.
Thankfully, Fraser Forster made a magnificent diving save to his right to repel the Colombian’s sot-kick and the silverware was heading back to Parkhead, the club’s TENTH successive domestic honour.
BHOY, OH BHOY…Jeremie Frimpong celebrates with his Celtic team-mates during their 5-2 Betfred League Cup semi-final win over Hibs at Hampden in November.
Frimpong hadn’t even played 10 first-team games before he got his hands on the medal and there’s another coming his way following the Hoops’ ninth crown in a row.
The Amsterdam-born kid has done some rapid growing up since his transfer which will rise to £1million with add-ons.
Frimpong, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I’m living by myself now and everything is different away from my family.
“I try to cook as much as I can. I do the dishes, I wash my own clothes and do all the housework.
“My cooking is just the simple chicken and pasta dishes. I’m not making lasagne…yet! I am used to it now, but I do feel I have grown up. I feel like a big man now!
“But, yeah, my family and all the people around me do notice a difference.
“They’ll say to me: ‘Jeremie, are you changing? You are taking on more responsibility’.
“That’s what happens when you live by yourself. You need to do things as your family isn’t there.
“I can ask people for help, but I am by myself in Glasgow, so I need to get on with it.”
SILVERWARE FIRST…Jeremie Frimpong holds the newly-won League Cup trophy.
Looking back at the switch from the English champions to the Scottish title kings, Frimpong said: “It was the best decision of my career so far – 100 per cent.
“When Celtic first came in for me and I just thought: ‘This is an amazing club’.
“I couldn’t wait to get started. It was a chance of first-team football and I wanted to give it everything. I knew I was ready for first-team football. I knew it, but I had to go and prove it.
“When the manager gave me the chance it was such a big moment in my career.
“But when you play for Celtic with the team-mates I have, what can go wrong?
“Was it a brave decision? Listen, if you want to be a footballer you have to make those decisions. As a young player you sometimes have to move. You can’t always stay with your family.
“Growing up, I knew that one day I would probably have to make that decision and go elsewhere.
“It was tough leaving my family and all my siblings. Coming to Glasgow by myself was hard. You have to adapt, though, and handle the situation.
“I knew that Celtic was the right club for me at that age.”
Frimpong remarked: “The atmosphere is crazy and when you play against the opponents they all really want it.
“Your team-mates place demands on you and that just motivates you even more. Losing isn’t an option at Celtic. You need to win every week.
HOOP HOOP HOORAY…Jeremie Frimpong shows his delight after his first medal triumph.
“All my team-mates have helped me make the move to first-team football.
“Scott Brown has been big for me. He is such a good person and motivates everyone.
“Before every game he gets us together and says: ‘Right guys…this is serious now’.
“He talks to me a lot.”
The Dutch ace added: “I can’t wait to get back to training this week.
“All I’ve been doing back home is running all the time.
“To think I could even just be kicking the ball with another team-mate is a great feeling. But I feel fit and strong. I have been working hard.
“I love football. I’ve missed the game and I just want to get back to it.
“When I was at home and we couldn’t play, I felt like I was missing something from my life.”