Dedryck Boyata’s Celtic career certainly had its ups and downs, and the big Belgian has claimed he’s ready to face his new challenge.
Boyata signed a pre-contract deal with Hertha Berlin at the end of last season. It brought to an end a trophy-laden spell for him in Glasgow too. He managed to rack up an exceptional 10 trophies during his time here. To this day, it’s the most successful spell he’s had in his career.
But Boyata refused to sign a new deal last season, and has now finally netted his first goal for Bundesliga side Hertha. A nasty thigh injury had him sidelined for the first few weeks of the season. But on his third outing at the weekend, he notched a goal in a fine 4-0 rout of Koln away from home.
It’s finally kick-started Boyata’s Bundesliga spell. And in comments published in the Scottish Sun, he feels he’s ready for a new challenge in his career.
“I’m delighted to score my first goal for the club and as a defender, it’s equally as important for me that we kept a cleen sheet. I’ve put in a lot of work recently and I feel this is my reward. But I am nowhere near playing at the top of my game – there’s still plenty more to come.
“It was hard for me to arrive here and not be fit. I had to work harder than usual to earn my team mates’ respect.
“I’ve already experienced a lot on my career and I won a lot of titles and medals with Celtic of course. But this is a new challenge for me now. With Hertha, after the poor start we had to the season, it was really important we started to win and got our confidence up and I think you saw the real Hertha here.”
Celtic looked to have upgraded
Boyata’s exit was a bit of a blow when it was announced. After all, we were hardly bursting with talent at centre-back. We had Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic, but with Filip Benkovic also departing, it left us well short.
In the end, however, we’ve recruited a real upgrade in Christopher Jullien. Sure, the Frenchman will prove to have an error or two in him. Every player does. However, what he does have is a composure on the ball. A willingness to drive forward and use the space well.
Even with how Jullien distributes the ball, it’s all top class. It’s actions of play that Boyata wouldn’t even think to try. And that’s no slight on the Belgian – he had different attributes. But for the way Celtic play, Jullien seems to fit in a lot more seamlessly.
Boyata certainly tried at Parkhead. Any idea that he may not have can be dismissed. He clearly cared about the club and produced what he could. He also improved so much under former manager Brendan Rodgers. There was a spell back in 2016 when it looked like he would’ve been out the door at the first opportunity. But Boyata proved to be a warrior in our treble-treble run. There was the AEK debacle, but he managed to put it behind him.
Everyone at Celtic will hope things work out well for him. He had his faults, but the Belgian internationalist always tried his best for the club, and he did us a fine turn.
It’s good to see him off the mark, and with back-to-back league wins under their belt, hopefully Hertha can have a positive season with the big man at the heart of it.