Short shrift is given by Tom Rogic to the notion that he only signed a new contract with Celtic this week because of the team’s revitalisation under Brendan Rodgers.
Equally short is the shrift the Australian gives to another theory: that a desire to ensure he isn’t remembered for missing the deciding kick in the first-ever major competition penalty shoot-out between Glasgow’s ancient adversaries might have played a part in the 23-year-old committing himself to the club until 2019.
As well as the relaid Hampden turf moving that day – giving way as he made contact with an effort that zoomed skyward to settle the Scottish Cup semi-final – so Rogic has “moved on” from something he “can’t control” and is “in the past”.
Yet, something else in Rogic’s Celtic past might have weighed on the attacker’s mind as he inked a new deal with a club he joined three and a half years ago.
In November 2013, Rogic made his only appearance thus far in the Champions League group stages. All that amounted to was a 10-minute run-out at the end of a grim evening, Rogic only called off the bench when his team were 3-0 down at home to AC Milan – the club’s biggest ever Celtic Park reverse in the group stages.
It resulted in them being bundled out of the competition before even contesting their final sectional game. Rogic is entitled to think there is unfinished business when it comes to making an impression on that stage in Celtic colours.
Which he was content not to swap as these appear worn by him with pride. So much so, a third season under Ronny Deila would not have encouraged him to delay a decision on his future and consider his options. “I am very settled here and I am happy both on and off the pitch,” said the player, who has been hampered by spells on the treatment table as he has sought to cement first-pick status.
“You get to play club football here week in, week out and it is pretty special. I don’t take that for granted and I don’t think that would have changed my decision. I had a great relationship with the previous manager here so no, I don’t think so.”
Which isn’t to say that Rogic doesn’t recognise that Rodgers’ arrival and the sense of focus and authority engendered by his stewardship has made for “a buzz about the place… [that’s] exciting.” The sense of a club on the up creates massive anticipation over the feeling that Celtic are so much better equipped to bring Champions League group stage football to Glasgow’s east end than across the previous two summers of failure on that front.
Rodgers’ squad reshaping has so far yielded Moussa Dembele, Kolo Toure and Scott Sinclair – so impressive in Wednesday’s Betfred Cup 5-0 drubbing of Motherwell that featured doubles from Rogic and Dembele. These arrivals have created an expectancy that Israeli side Hapoel Be’er Sheva will be overcome in the play-offs for European football’s blue riband tournament, the first leg of which will be staged at Celtic Park on Wednesday.
“The manager has made some great signings so far and they have definitely added to our squad,” said Rogic. “They have been signings of quality and have done fantastically well. “Scott Sinclair was great on Sunday against Hearts and against Motherwell. It is important that players come in and do well as it doesn’t always happen that simply. “Moussa Dembele is now getting his goals which is great for him and the team. Kolo Toure is going to be a massive signing for us.
His experience in the dressing room and the training ground alone everyday is invaluable. Kolo is someone who everyone can definitely learn from every day.” Rogic has learned that life at Celtic – with all its ups and downs – offers value for many days.