Celtic title winner opens up on journey from rock bottom and has message for critical pundits

‘To go from being that low to this high is massive,’ says defender

Liam Scales’ journey has seen him travel from the nadir of a dark night in Darvel to the cusp of a double with Celtic in less than a year-and-a-half.

Such a transformation helps imbue the defender with confidence whenever his self-esteem is wavering. It is also a helpful reminder that every underdog can have their day.

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The Irishman’s season-long loan at Aberdeen hit rock bottom when they were knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Darvel either side of a 5-0 thrashing by Hearts and then a 6-0 scudding from Hibernian that cost manager Jim Goodwin his job.

Liam Scales in action during Aberdeen's Scottish Cup defeat to Darvel last season. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)Liam Scales in action during Aberdeen's Scottish Cup defeat to Darvel last season. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Liam Scales in action during Aberdeen's Scottish Cup defeat to Darvel last season. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Scales has found a new lease of life since returning to Celtic, an integral figure for the newly crowned league champions who will look to add the Scottish Cup to their trophy haul in Saturday’s eagerly anticipated final against Rangers.

“Eighteen months ago I was at Aberdeen and we got knocked out of the cup by Darvel and had back-to-back heavy league defeats in the space of a week,” he reflected. “So to go from being that low to this high is massive. That experience has also helped me get to where I am now.

“There have been times this season when the performances haven’t been as good as they should have been. I always thought that, well, I was at that point 18 months ago with Aberdeen and I managed to get back to this stage, so it was just a low point and you have to bounce back. And I have used that to get through tough times this season as well.

“[Winning the Scottish Cup] would be as far away from that night in Darvel as you can get! That’s the plan. We’re fully focused on that now.

Celtic's Liam Scales with his partner and the cinch Premiership trophy. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)Celtic's Liam Scales with his partner and the cinch Premiership trophy. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Celtic's Liam Scales with his partner and the cinch Premiership trophy. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

“Our celebrations at the weekend weren’t as big as they had been the other night. We had a nice little weekend and now we’re totally focused as everyone here wants the double and we’re striving to achieve that.”

Celtic haven’t had things all their own way this season, knocked out of the League Cup by Kilmarnock amid mid-season league struggles. Manager Brendan Rodgers has been unhappy with some of the coverage of the team but Scales admits there were times the squad themselves knew that standards weren’t what they ought to have been.

“The season didn’t start very well, getting knocked out of the League Cup early on,” he added. “A lot of the narrative was about us crumbling a bit. Looking back I didn’t realise that at the time as I keep away from that sort of stuff. But we were criticised from all angles.

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“We didn’t need anyone to tell us that there were times when we weren’t performing as well as we should have been. We could feel that ourselves. We don’t need to hear it from pundits. We know when we’re good or when we’re bad. There were spells when we struggled a little bit. It was the first season back for the manager and a new style and it just took a little bit of time to get used to it. Over the last few weeks we’ve hit a good run and hopefully we can continue that into the final.

“But we also know that if we don’t get to our levels we could easily lose the game. It’s a cup final and anything can happen.”

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