Celtic fans see different side of Tom Rogic - 'wasn't a decision I took lightly'

Such was affection with which the Celtic support showered Tom Rogic on his final appearance for the club, the ordinarily phlegmatic Australian admitted afterwards he could not help himself welling up.

Tom Rogic could not hide his emotion in his last match for Celtic.
Tom Rogic could not hide his emotion in his last match for Celtic.

The playmaker is unquestionably one of the most naturally talented performers to grace the club in the past two decades. Since he pitched up from Central Coast Mariners in January 2013, his balletic ball control has led to him serving up some iconic moments as he had claimed 16 honours. Long-term injuries brought fallow periods but he is beloved by the club’s faithful for his winner that sealed the invincible treble success of 2016-17, a blunderbuss effort at Kilmarnock that sent the club on their way to title glory in 2015, and some glorious finishes against Rangers. As with fellow departee Nir Bitton, he is a quadruple treble winner and contributed to Celtic’s nine-in-a-row era.

Yet, the home faithful witnessed a side to the player they had not seen when he was brought off an hour into the 6-0 slaying of Motherwell. The ovation that ensued left him unable to prevent the tears flowing. So overcome, he was left burying his face into his strip as he was movingly embraced by all his team-mates and his manager.

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"I couldn't contain my emotion, it was hard,” Rogic said. “It's a special club, it's been an enormous part of my life. I came here when I was 20, now 29 I've experienced so many memories in that time. Hopefully this is the start under the new manager. It wasn't a decision I took lightly, but I feel the timing is right. [This title win] is right up there. Off the back of last season, it's enormous. It's a special season to go out on.”

In terms of game-time, under his fellow Australian and former Socceroos manager Ange Postecoglou, this proved the most productive season of his Celtic career, no less. That isn’t true of Bitton, signed six months after his fellow heading-into-the-sunset comrade. But the Israeli proved an able support player for the midfield screening role undertaken by his captain Callum McGregor. Bitton has experienced the vagaries across his near-decade in Glasgow – as well as 18 trophies, he collected six red cards – but that was no impediment to the midfielder being given a deafening ovation when introduced five minutes from time. It made for a last, lasting memory to add the treasure trove he takes back to his homeland with him. “It’s amazing,” he said. “When I signed for this club I obviously knew the expectations were high. It’s about winning trophies, it’s about taking this club to the Champions League. I’m just happy to finish with this one.

“I’ve won a lot of trophies here, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, injuries. But this club is just about winning and after last season, the players who have been here knew how much it meant for the fans and everyone involved to bring this title home. I’m just happy we did for them.

“There are so many memories. My debut, I will never forget. The winning of the treble [in 2017], an amazing moment. And especially this one, to finish this journey on a high, the way I wanted to finish it. I’m speechless.”