Celtic’s preparations for their crunch midweek Champions League qualifier against Midtjylland took a knock with a 6-2 friendly defeat by West Ham at Parkhead.
Becoming a professional football player can be a very hard arduous task, with many twists and turns along the way.
It doesn’t help that Australia is not known as a football country. Sometimes all you need is a chance.
The chance is a Nike football scouting project that aims to find the best unsigned talent from all corners of the globe, and to then give them the opportunity to become a professional footballer.
The amount of players still playing professionally from the chosen few is quite high and Australia can boast a representative of its own, Celtic’s Tom Rogic.
Rogic was just a lanky, pimply-faced kid in a six-foot-two man’s body when he lit up the A-League playing with the Central Coast Mariners in 2012.
He resembled a gazelle in full flight with his legs and arms going everywhere, yet his ball control – honed by playing futsal – was some of the best you would find in an Australian player of the past 20 years.
Attacking midfielders are normally quite small, but seeing one from Australia of all places hitting the height charts at 187 centimetres, deftly pirouetting past defenders and threading the eye of the needle with a pass, was majestic.
Rogic has spent the past eight seasons with Celtic, collecting 14 trophies and playing some amazing football along the way. However for Celtic fans he is a much-maligned figure with his poor injury record and patchy form.
To have only played 141 times for Celtic over several seasons in such a crucial attacking position shows how wretched his run with injuries has been.
Rogic has had every soft tissue injury you can think of – sometimes the same kind two or three times in a season. The Celtic medical staff have tried different training programs to get his body right over the years, with little success.
A few seasons ago Celtic had the opportunity to sell Rogic to other European clubs. Arsenal and Valencia were very interested but baulked at the quoted price tag.
In hindsight, Celtic might be regretting the decision to keep Rogic with his poor form and injuries culminating in the fans turning against him after one of the worst seasons since Celtic was formed.
There could be some light at the end of the tunnel though, with Rogic’s countryman Ange Postecoglou taking the coaching reins for this upcoming season.
The only problem with that train of thought is Postecoglou has been reluctant to have Australian players when he hasn’t been in charge of Australian clubs, like Yokohama.
The Scottish season starts in less than a month and there has been no indication if Postecoglou even wants to have Rogic in his squad. For all we know he could be transfer listed within days.
Looking at Postecoglou’s prior teams and style of play, a fully fit Tom Rogic could be the centrepiece of a very attacking line-up.
Rogic is now 28 years old and should be in his prime as a footballer. He is very happy living in Glasgow and has never angled for a move away.
However after going from a fan favourite to one of the players criticised after a horror season, Rogic’s career is at a crossroads.
With Postecoglou as the gaffer and an off-season trying to get his body right, Rogic has a glimmer of hope.