JO INGE BERGET is on the cusp of his Champions League dream after a nightmare start to his Celtic career.
The Norwegian forward was pitched straight into the Hoops side for the first leg of their third qualifier against Legia Warsaw on July 30 after arriving just days earlier on a loan deal from Cardiff and suffered along with his new team mates in the 4-1 drubbing.
Although the Polish club won the return game at Murrayfield 2-0 they were effectively drummed out of the tournament by UEFA for fielding a player who should have been suspended.
The Scottish champions were consequently reinstated and after drawing 1-1 with Maribor in Slovenia on Wednesday night, they are strong favourites to get through the second leg of their play-off at Celtic Park next Tuesday night - where they will join Europe’s elite in the group stages.
Berget, 23, speaking at the club’s Lennoxtown training complex ahead of the trip to Inverness in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday, noted the turnaround in his fortunes.
“Of course it is not fun losing 4-1 in your debut and not having the best of games,” he said.
“You get a bit down but the next day you pick yourself up and get going again and the whole team has done that.
“Every football player wants to play in the Champions League and meet the best players in the world.
“I am dreaming of it and I have been doing that since I was a kid so I am hoping we can go through.
“We had a good result away so it is up to us to do the job at home.
“I have seen some of Celtic’s Champions League games. Celtic is a big club, a big club in Norway as well so they are often shown on television.
“The chance to go to the Champions League is a big deal and one of the reasons I came here.”
Berget sampled the Celtic Park atmosphere for the first time in the 6-1 Premiership win over Dundee United last Saturday, notching his first two goals for the club and he is looking for the side’s recent improvement to continue.
“It was my first game at Celtic Park and it went well for me and the team so hopefully we can do the same on Tuesday,” said the former Molde player.
“It has calmed down, I am getting to know the group and it helps for an attacking player to get goals.
“We played a good game against Dundee United and Maribor so things are looking good.
“We have scored 10 goals in the last three games and let in two so that is a good thing.
“I am trying to be myself. It is important not to change too much, but to be yourself and trust in yourself.
“Even though you might not have the best game, you are still a good football player and you can turn it around by being yourself.”