Celtic’s Efe Ambrose will always be grateful to Neil Lennon

Efe Ambrose will make his second start for Hibs, his first at Easter Road. Picture: SNS

Efe Ambrose will make his second start for Hibs, his first at Easter Road. Picture: SNS

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He has been offloaded to Hibs on loan but Efe Ambrose has nothing but praise for Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers as the Nigerian defender bids to rekindle his ailing career under Neil Lennon.

The Hibs emergency loan signing has not had a look in at Celtic this season and suffered the disappointment of a collapsed move to Blackburn in the transfer window.

Ambrose failed to get the start he wanted for the Easter Road men as the Championship leaders suffered a 2-0 defeat by bottom of the table St Mirren on Wednesday.

However, the 28 year-old believes his title-winning experience at Parkhead can help Hibs secure their return to the Premiership.

He said: “It was a tough time for me when the Blackburn move didn’t go through but I was happy to go back to Celtic
because they welcomed me again and it felt like coming back home.

“And, as you can see, God knows best. I’m thankful to Neil Lennon and Hibs for 
giving me time to play.

“I’m happy to play with Lennon (pictured right) and I’m happy to be here. I have great memories with him, and now he’s brought me here.

“I’ve always been grateful to him because if not for him I wouldn’t be here in the first place and the times I played with him were brilliant. He knows how to get the best out of me.

“For me to be here is a massive opportunity and to get game time again. But I’m not just here for the game time – I want to do what I can to help improve the team and stay on top.

“And hopefully, I pray, we will be able to clinch it this time.

“It’s difficult winning games, the pressure is on us because Hibs have always been in first place, so we’re the ones to beat. But the most important thing now is to focus ahead to the next game.

“Hibs is a great club, a massive club and they deserve to be in the Premier League.

“I believe I can do my part. We just need the winning mentality. It’s a team game and the players have to do it on the pitch.

“The road to the Premier League starts now. We need to step up and face it.”

The Nigerian international found himself in the spotlight following some high-profile defensive gaffes with Celtic but insists he has always enjoyed his time there.

He said: “Football is not about individuals, it’s a team sport so sometimes you will just be in the wrong place at the wrong time and you’ll be the one they see.

“But that never pulls me down, it just motivates me to come back stronger. I 
always enjoyed myself at 
Celtic.

“For me it’s been difficult but at the same time it’s been great. I took the time to work on myself and learn more with Brendan (Rodgers) and his technical crew and they’ve helped me a lot despite not playing.

“I’ve never missed a training session. I was always in there working hard and hoping I would get a chance.

“All I would say about Brendan is: he’s a genius.

“That’s all I can use to describe him, because he knows the game, he really knows football. You can see what he has done with Celtic, with the same players as last season and he did something miraculous that nobody can explain. That’s why I just call him genius.

“I just have to say thanks to him, because I really appreciate him. Every time I work with him and see him on the pitch I learn a new thing every day.”

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