The red card that sealed Rogic's switch to Celtic
Tom Rogic's former mentor Graham Arnold has revealed how the Caltex Socceroos playmaker went from cut-price unknown to Celtic star following one fateful red card.
Rogic, now 25, was snapped up by Arnold and made his name with Central Coast Mariners in the Hyundai A-League after signing in 2012 as winner of Nike's The Chance talent quest.
The languid left-footer immediately impressed despite his humble beginnings as a Futsalroo who, by the age of 19, had never been part of a professional club.
"He was probably nearly the cheapest player I ever had at the Mariners," soon-to-be Caltex Socceroos boss Arnold told FFA TV.
WATCH THE FULL GRAHAM ARNOLD FEATURE IN THE VIDEO AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE
"I got him for about $13,000 for three months, four months, and he was a special talent.
"Whenever we played 6v6 at training, he was the best player. His technique and strength was incredible."
It was that sublime skill, according to Arnold, that convinced Celtic to hastily turn a short stint at their Spanish training camp in January 2013 into a four-and-a-half-year contract.
And yet, without a bittersweet twist of fate, Rogic's life-changing move to the Scottish Premiership champions might never have transpired.
"I remember in December  he came to me," Arnold recalled.
"We actually played Sydney FC, he got sent off and he said 'can I go for a trial with Celtic in the UK?'
"And I said 'look, I don't think you're ready for it yet, I think you should have another six months here in the A-League and finish the season off with us.'
"[Rogic asked] 'can I have a training experience? I got sent off, I don't have anything to do the next couple of weeks.'
"So I said yeah, okay. So he went to a Celtic training camp in Spain and I think luckily for Tommy they played 6v6s at training the whole time.
"That was his trial. Of course he killed it and they signed him straight away."
Over five years on and Rogic now appears set for his first FIFA World Cup just weeks after signing a five-year contract extension with Brendan Rodgers' men.
Arnold, who guided him into professional football, expects Australia's creative weapon to soon unlock another gear.
"He's still got more left in him, a lot more left in him, and he'll go to another level," the ex-Mariners and Sydney FC boss said.
"He's a lovely kid first and foremost. He learnt very quickly with us, he went from nothing, indoor football to where he is very quickly and he's always been up for a challenge.
"He's a special talent."
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