What a week it has been for Liam Scales.
Just seven days after completing his dream move to Celtic, the defender has earned a call up to the Republic of Ireland national side for the first time in his career.
The 23-year-old, signed from League of Ireland Premier Division side Shamrock Rovers for £600,000, will be in line to make his senior international debut during their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Serbia.
His inclusion comes after Ireland boss Stephen Kenny’s was dealt a blow following injuries to two key members of his squad with Dara O’Shea and Nathan Collins both ruled out.
Ireland have lost all three of their Group A matches, including Wednesday night’s heart-breaking 2-1 injury-time defeat against Portugal, and are in desperate need of points to revive any hopes of sealing a place at Qatar 2022.
Scales, who can play in a number of different positions, will look to make his mark when they take on Azerbaijan, ranked 112, at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow before entertaining Serbia on Tuesday.
He said: “Over the years I’ve played in plenty of positions. I suppose when I was younger, I was a left-sided midfielder and I kind of dropped back.
“At UCD, I played mainly as a centre-back and a bit of left-back there as well, and in my first season at Shamrock Rovers I played centre-back, but with injuries to players this season I was out left and I did quite well.
“So I suppose I’m a versatile left-sided defender and I can play anywhere between the three positions – centre-back, left-wing back, left-back – as long as I’m playing I’m happy.”
Reflection on his move to Glasgow, Scales admitted: “It’s the stuff of dreams for any Irish boy – it’s Celtic.
“It’s a top club and as a kid if you’re growing up in Ireland, and someone asked you as a 12 or 13-year-old ‘Who do you want to play for?’ it’s always been Celtic and whatever club you support.
“Obviously there’s the Irish connection and I have friends and family who are Celtic supporters so it’s a really proud moment.
“It’s been unbelievable so far – the facilities, the training ground, the people, it’s great and it’s great to be here finally and I’m just looking forward to getting to work now.
“Obviously there’s a new manager and loads of new players brought in so it’s a great time for Celtic and I’m just delighted to be part of it.
“I can’t wait to kick on and try to get into the team – it’s a big season.”