"It was a hard time for me"; Celtic defender reflects on surreal career turnaround
Anthony Ralston has stated that he never lost belief he could make it at Celtic as he reflected on his stunning career turnaround.
Ralston looked like heading out of the club last summer before being granted a one-year extension. At the time, the decision infuriated supporters who didn’t believe the right-back was up to the task.
But all of that changed after the arrival of Ange Postecoglou. Ralston became a key figure last season as he regularly rotated with Josip Juranovic. Ralston ended the season a Premiership title winner with a whopping 47 appearances to his name. Not to mention his 5 goals and 9 assists too [Transfermarkt].
It all culminated in a full Scotland debut for the right-back too as he netted for his country against Armenia in last night’s Nations League match. And as he reflected on the dark days of last summer, Ralston stated he just had to keep working hard despite how difficult the uncertainty was.
As quoted by the Scottish Sun, Ralston said: “I’ve worked hard. I wasn’t involved at Celtic, it’s no secret it was a hard time for me. But I kept myself right, I kept training hard, I kept believing.
“I’m happy I’ve done that, I gave myself the best chance and that’s all I could do. I was in a situation where I didn’t know what was happening. My contract was coming to an end. But I just kept believing in myself. I kept on working hard and I managed to get myself back in and just take my opportunities when I got them.
“This is football and you just need to keep yourself positive at all times, keep working and that’s what I’ll continue to do for the rest of my career.”
Celtic defender Anthony Ralston reaping the benefits of never giving up
It’s so easy to forget just how out of the picture Ralston was last summer. We’re not just talking about a player that was in an around the first-team picture but just not quite at the level. There was an assumption that Ralston was fortunate to still be at the club. That there was no place in any matchday squad for him even in pre-season.
That’s what makes this renaissance so incredible. It’s why it continuously gets highlighted by Celtic fan sites such as ourselves. It’s absolutely astonishing what Ralston has been able to do over the last 12 months.
Last night just rounded it all off. Scoring on his full international debut marks the end of an absolutely outrageous campaign for Ralston. Something that could only have happened in a dream last summer.
Granted, there are still 2 international matches to go in the Scotland camp before they wrap up. Ireland away on Saturday afternoon looks a tasty clash and one Anthony will be keen to be involved in. It’s difficult to see why Steve Clarke would drop him either.
But the biggest compliment you can pay Anthony is that last night’s goal wasn’t even a surprise. He’s managed to increase his reputation amongst the support to the degree that we just expect big moments from him now.
When it comes to reinventing yourself, you’ll do well to find a player in Britain who did so as effectively as Ralston this season.