Southampton’s Stuart Armstrong has been talking up Celtic as well as overcoming Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester last week.
It’s been a full 180-turn for Armstrong in his Saints career. The former Hoops man had failed to start a league game when he came on for 20 minutes against Leicester back in October. It was six days before Halloween when Armstrong came on to take part in a horror show that saw Southampton lose 9-0 to the Foxes.
But last weekend it was a different story. Stuart came into the game having started six more matches (Transfermarkt). He played a vital part as his team won 2-1 at the King Power Stadium. His swift equaliser led the way for his side to down his former manager.
Armstrong has touched on that as well as how his love grew for Celtic in the Sunday Mail. Speaking in his interview, the midfielder said the following:
“It still felt like a sad day when I left Celtic. The longer I stayed, the more I grew to love everything about it and being a part of it – the fans, the expectation, the titles, European football.
“It’s tough when you are playing for Celtic or Rangers. Day-to-day life means that’s what defines you and you have to understand how to manage that responsibly. The fans were so passionate though and I never got a hard time from them. People just wanted a chat and picture, and leaving that behind was hard.
“That was a really bad night (9-0) so last week felt pretty good by comparison. Brendan gave me a big hug at the end – through gritted teeth, mind! Rodgers was great for me as well as the whole club.”
Armstrong’s form means any return looks unlikely
It’s incredible to think that Armstrong hasn’t made more of an impact at Southampton. Granted, he’s played over 50 games for the club since his move there from Parkhead in the summer of 2018 (Transfermarkt). However, many have come from the bench as his career down south continues to be stop-start.
But it finally looks as though he’s hitting his stride. When fit, he’s been involved in all but two games this season. Even the two he didn’t make saw him pick up a place on the bench.
His next target must be to start adding more goals and assists to his name at St Mary’s. So far, Armstrong has only managed five goals and two assists with the Premier League club. That’s a massive difference from his best campaign at Celtic – season 2016-17 – when Stuart scored 17 goals and assisted seven times (Transfermarkt).
His return to form for Southampton, however, means that any return to Parkhead either this month or in the summer looks highly unlikely. Affordability was always going to be the number one challenge, but his clear desire to still make a go of it in England is evident.
It looks as though we’ll have to settle for him downing Rodgers and taking him down a peg or two, regardless of his clear love for the Leicester boss.
Hopefully Stu can kick on in England and make the mark his talent and potential always should’ve done.