By Gavin McCafferty, PA
Ange Postecoglou has hailed Cameron Carter-Vickers for going all in at Celtic and getting a World Cup spot as a consequence.
Carter-Vickers was announced as a member of the United States squad for Qatar after captaining Celtic to a 2-1 win at Motherwell on Wednesday night.
The 24-year-old ended a three-year hiatus between international appearances earlier this year and won his place despite missing the final warm-up games through injury.
The former Tottenham centre-back had loan spells at Sheffield United, Ipswich, Swansea, Stoke, Luton, Bournemouth and Celtic before making Glasgow his permanent home in the summer.
“The whole club is proud of him, the way he has gone about it,” Postecoglou said. “We brought him in last year and he had had a couple of appearances for the national team but until that point he had played mainly Championship football. I think he saw this as an opportunity to take his football to another level.
“He has just been brilliant for us since the day he arrived. He has embraced everything within the club and his performances speak for themselves. He has now taken on leadership as well.
“It’s a credit to him, he is the one that has put in the hard work and I couldn’t be happier for him.
“I think he has found his place at this football club. During the off-season we had the option to take up the loan and there was never any doubt in our mind about doing that, but he was never in any doubt about where he wanted to be. He wanted to become a permanent member of this football club.
“Everyone is really proud of him and looking forward to his performances there.”
Australia midfielder Aaron Mooy, Japan forward Daizen Maeda and Croatia right-back Josip Juranovic are also going to Qatar.
The likes of Japan internationals Reo Hatate and Kyogo Furuhashi, Portugese winger Jota and Denmark Under-21 international Matt O’Riley missed out but Postecoglou has not had to lift their spirits.
“With all these things it’s about keeping a perspective of where you are at in terms of your career or what you want to achieve,” he said.
“I haven’t felt the need to speak to guys individually. Obviously we are happy for the ones that have been selected because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them and they will benefit so much from that experience.
“For the ones that miss out, there is the incentive and motivation to continue their form with us and make sure they put a more compelling case moving forward.”
That process continues with the visit of Ross County to Celtic Park on Saturday as the cinch Premiership champions aim to consolidate their seven-point lead.
“The fact that the break is coming up is not the key bit, the key bit is that we want to continue our form and performances in the league,” Postecoglou said.
“We have come through a crazily hectic period, this will be our 13th game in 40-odd days, including Champions League and travel.
“The fact that the boys have been so resilient through this time with our league form has been a credit to them and we want to finish strong.”