BY DARREN JOHNSTONE @CCP_Sport
Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic admits a heart-to-heart with manager Ronny Deila is the reason he is enjoying his best run of form in a Hoops jersey.
After failing to make a single domestic appearance last season due to a serious groin injury, the Australian internationalist has made a total of 17 outings this term, making 12 starts.
The 22-year-old, who spent the first six months of 2014 on loan at Melbourne Victory, capped an impressive individual display on Sunday with a stunning goal – his fifth of the campaign – in the 4-1 victory over Ross County.
And the playmaker has revealed how a one-to-one chat with Deila at the end of last term was the trigger for him to start showing his true potential.
Rogic, who is back in his homeland preparing for World Cup qualifiers against Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh, said: “We sat down, the manager just wanted me to know I had a future at the club and that he wanted to see me come in at pre-season for a fresh start and on par with everyone else in the squad.
“That was good for me to give me that confidence to have a target in my mind of what I wanted to do and to achieve at the club.
“They were fantastic in supporting me over the last year and it was great to have that reassurance moving into this season.
“The manager has been a great influence and helped me a lot. He’s given me a lot of confidence to go out there and play and enjoy my football and I feel as though I’m in the right environment to do that.”
Despite his injury torment, Rogic, who joined Celtic from Central Coast Mariners in January 2013, insists he feels stronger both mentally and physically.
He said: “It’s been a learning experience and one that I feel has improved me as a person and a player.
“I feel as though I’ve come out of it stronger and it’s helped develop me further.
“There’s not much I could have done about the things that happened. But it’s how you move on a deal with it.
“When you’re in the gym doing rehab and you can’t even get out on the pitch and do a normal training session it can be tough and frustrating but that’s in the past now.
“I’m in a good place right now and I want that to continue.
“Injuries happen to almost every footballer so I don’t feel like I’m a special case.
“But I certainly feel as though I’m better and more mature for it.”