By Matt Farr
Celtic icon Davie Hay believes that Hoops midfield star Tom Rogic will be full of confidence ahead of next season following his busy summer schedule.
The 24-year-old has been in action for Australia at the Confederations Cup, where the Socceroos currently sit third in Group B with one of their three matches remaining.
Rogic hit the back of the net during their recent defeat to Germany, and Hay believes he could be in peak physical condition on his return to his domestic duties with Celtic for the 2017-18 campaign.
He told the Evening Times: “While the bulk of Celtic players are back and reporting for pre-season duty, Rogic is still on and in many ways he might actually come back further on in fitness levels than the rest.
“He will certainly come back as a player full of confidence. Given the fact that he missed a huge chunk of the season with injury, it will actually have done him good to keep playing on.
“He should be able to cope with that alright given that he wasn’t exposed to the same number of that the rest were last season.”
The attacking-midfielder had started the previous campaign in breath-taking fashion, contributing three goals and two assists from his first seven Scottish Premiership appearances.
He added another three goals and an assist from his next seven league matches before being hit by a shattering injury blow that saw him sidelined until April.
There had been talk of an earlier return to action, but Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers remained cautious not too rush his star back too early from injury.
He did eventually make his return during a late substitute appearance against Partick Thistle on April 5, and went on to make nine appearances in all competitions before the end of the domestic season.
Rogic finished the season on a particularly high note by scoring a last-minute winner against Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup Final, a victory which handed Celtic their domestic treble triumph.
Celtic begin their Champions League qualification campaign early next month, and Rogic will have only a short rest period upon his return from his international duties.
In other Celtic news, Rangers have completed the signing of this Celtic player.