Canberra-born Socceroo Tom Rogic says it's "amazing" how his career has turned out at Celtic after injuries threatened to scupper the elegant Aussie's progress with the giant of Scottish football.
Following the devastation of missing out on the Socceroos squad for World Cup 2014 in Brazil, Rogic has become a force for the ladder-leading Bhoys this season, with the club seven points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
After two years bedeviled by a chronic groin injury, the 22-year-old has already played more minutes this season than the last two seasons combined and his four goals from 15 appearances is paying healthy dividends for Celtic boss Ronny Deila and his faith in the tall, elegant attacking midfielder.
As he prepares to fly to Canberra following this Sunday’s clash away to Ross County to join the Socceroos for their World Cup qualifier on November 12, Rogic says a short stint back in the A-League with Melbourne Victory in 2014 was an important motivating factor for him.
“I didn’t think too far in the future when I went back home,” Canberra-boy Rogic told The Daily Record.
“It was leading up to the World Cup and I wasn’t playing much at Celtic and needed games.
“Looking back on it now it seems a long time ago and things can change so quickly.
“But at that point did I think I’d be coming back here now and be playing in the Celtic team? Maybe not but it’s amazing how things work out.
“I was never really trying to prove anyone wrong when I went back. Maybe if anything I was trying to prove to myself that I could still do it but that wasn’t my main motivation.
“Being injured and missing a year was hard but as a player you accept these things happen.
“To come through that difficult period definitely makes you mentally stronger. I don’t think people realise what you go through. It’s made me a better player."
The Canberra-born midfielder admitted he originally struggled to adapt following his move overseas but the well-worn path taken by former Socceroos strikers at Parkhead inspired him to persist.
“When I first came over here it was a big move and change for me,” said Rogic.
“In Australia I had a lot of people helping me as I came through but when you move to the other side of the world away from that support network, having just turned 20, it’s not the easiest.
“But you just get on with it because you know what’s a stake - the chance to do what you want at a high level. It has to be worth it.
“It helped to know that other Aussies like Mark Viduka and Scott McDonald had come over here and been successful at this club.”