STUART ARMSTRONG has admitted the decision to quit Celtic was “a tough one”.

The Scotland international midfielder left the champions in a £7million switch to Southampton in June 2018 after arriving at Parkhead in January 2015 in a £2million double deal with Gary Mackay-Steven from Dundee United.

Armstrong revealed he had to follow his dream to play in the English top flight, but didn’t realise how massive the Hoops were until he arrived in a Ronny Deila swoop on Tannadice.

The strong-running 28-year-old, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “It was very exciting, but I don’t think I realised just how big the club is, what it means to fans, the passion, the noise of the stadium.

“I’ve got friends who play for European clubs who say the atmosphere at Celtic Park is still the best they’ve experienced.

“The decision to leave was a tough one, but if I didn’t pursue my dream to reach the Premier League, then I’d have regretted it.

“When Southampton were interested, the aura of the club, how they play, it really appealed to me.”

Armstrong was often played out of position in a wide left berth by Deila where he failed to impress.

However, he became a key component in the line-up when Brendan Rodgers took over in the summer of 2016 and was instrumental in the debut treble treble campaign.

It was Armstrong who got the team swiftly back on track in the Scottish Cup Final after Jonny Hayes had fired Aberdeen into an early lead.

A couple of minutes later, the dynamic midfield man zipped the leveller beyond keeper Joe Lewis and Tom Rogic completed the domestic clean sweep with his history-clinching stoppage-time winner.

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