It is easy for Scott Bain to remain grounded. He just needs to look at the walls in his Edinburgh flat.
It would be forgivable were the 26-year-old’s head hitting the roof right now in light of all the praise lavished on him for his display for Celtic in the Old Firm match, a calm authoritative performance after stepping in at the last minute for the injured Dorus de Vries that has helped turn the on-loan Dundee keeper into a serious rival for the returning-to-fitness Craig Gordon.
However, the affable Bain has known real life in the school of monoblocks and so the self-confessed “laidback” character is merely appreciating and “pinching” himself over his sudden public profile and lauded status.
The keeper retains memories of his days working on a building site with his dad while playing part-time at Alloa Athletic following his release from Aberdeen in 2011.
“Three days in and we did the big joinery job on a Cala Homes site – five, six bedroomed houses – and the forklift driver brought over a pallet of plasterboard sheets and there were 72 sheets on a pallet,” said Bain.
“I had to load them in the house. I loaded them in and I thought I was done for the day. But then the forklift driver told me there was another four pallets-full to be sorted! At that point I’m thinking ‘Nah, this isn’t for me’.
“I actually loaded the flat I’m in just now with plasterboard sheets. So I can go round and tell them what I think of the joinery work, get my dad to fix any problems.”
Bain’s desire to sign permanently for Celtic on seeing out his Dundee contract in the summer, and Brendan Rodgers’ desire to make that happen, means problems that seemed perilous for his career only a matter of months ago now seem entirely distant.
The Edinburgher is set to make a third straight appearance for the Scottish champions when Ross County visit Celtic Park this afternoon. In November, he seemed in professional limbo after he became persona non grata at Dens Park following an argument with manager Neil McCann. He was then an unused substitute across January while on loan at Hibernian – the fate that he seemed set for when switching to Celtic on the final day of the transfer window after the club ran out of other options to bring in cover following Gordon’s injury.
“It was difficult at Dundee,” said Bain. “I’m not going to lie, when I knew my contract was coming to an end this season, I thought if I’m still at Dundee then it’s going to be hard to get another club because you’re forgotten about quickly in football. However, I’ve always had confidence in my ability and when I found out there was interest from Hibs I just had to keep my head down and get through it. Obviously, though, I didn’t expect that to land me here.”
Bain’s time at Celtic is confounding all expectations – including his own. He is being driven to raise his standards through the demands placed on him by the environment and squad created by Rodgers and his daily drills with Scotland goalkeeping coach Stevie Woods.
Meanwhile, he is probably being driven to distraction by car-sharing every day with fellow residents of the capital Scott Brown and former Dundee team-mate and now full international Jack Hendry. “Jack’s still five minutes late every day,” said Bain. “When you first come to a club this size from the situation I was in it’s going to go through your head [that you might be here just to make up the numbers]. But they wanted me to come and that was a big confidence boost.
“It was always going to be hard to get in with goalkeepers like Dorus and Craigy. But I think once you get your chance you just need to enjoy it and try to take it. I came in and did really well [at Ibrox] and it’s hard for the manager to change the team. But I’ve got to thank him that he stood by me and it was another boost that he believes in my ability.
“He believes I can play for this club. I want to stay here. I love it here. Me being here, I can reach my full potential. I don’t think there’s a ceiling at this club, you can go as high as you can possibly go.” And Bain knows all about ceilings.