Liam Scales embraces tough learning curve of Champions League campaign

The Celtic defender stood out in the 2-1 victory over Feyenoord.

Celtic defender Liam Scales says he’s had to learn how to deal with Champions League football in a tough campaign and is delighted to finally get a win in the competition.

The centre-back was a key player as Celtic ended their European campaign with a hard-fought win over Feyenoord in the final group game.

Luis Palma put the hosts ahead with a first-half penalty before Yankuba Minteh levelled for Feyenoord but Gustaf Lagerbielke’s injury-time header won the match for Celtic.

“I think we deserved it,” Scales said after the final whistle. “We were really good in the first half and we took the game to them.

“When we had to defend in the second half, we did. To concede and then come back in the last few minutes and score is just brilliant and shows great character.

“We’re all delighted. On paper it doesn’t mean much but to us it meant a lot to get a win in this campaign and it’s great that we did.”

Scales has played every minute of the group stage and as a newcomer to Champions League football, faced fresh challenges against Atletico Madrid, Lazio and Feyenoord.

On Wednesday night, with Cameron Carter-Vickers out, he started alongside Stephen Welsh before injury forced the Scot to be replaced by Lagerbielke but Scales was a solid presence in the back line and was named as UEFA’s Player of the Match. He admitted he had needed to learn lessons during the campaign but was proud of his progress.

“I think over the six games we have had tough stages,” he said. “We’ve played with nine men or ten men in stages and I’ve sort of had to dig in and learn how to cope at this level.

“I feel like today is the peak of it for me. I’m just glad that I could help the team to get the win and it’s a nice personal achievement to have that in my locker.”

Scales spent last season on loan at Aberdeen and had returned to Celtic in the summer with many people, including himself, expecting him to be transferred as Brendan Rodgers refined his squad.

Instead, he grabbed a chance to impress and says it’s now important not to be complacent if he wants to continue his progress.

“It was tough to see past the transfer window [in the summer],” he said. “I didn’t know where I was going to be or what I was going to be doing.

“I never foresaw this because I was looking at what my immediate move was going to be, if there was going to be a move.

“I’m delighted at how it’s worked out. I got a bit of luck with injuries and it’s been brilliant.

“It’s just sort of kicked on now. I always felt like if I got a chance here to play consistently then I could do well. It was just about trying to get that chance but with the quality of the squad it was always going to be difficult.

“I’m just delighted that I have, and for it to go as well as it has since getting that chance has been brilliant.”

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