Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata is happy to return to action

Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata made his comeback against Inter Milan
Image: Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata made his comeback against Inter Milan

Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata is hopeful he has put his injury problems behind him after making his comeback at the weekend.

The Belgium international was part of a second-string Hoops side which lost 2-0 to Inter Milan in the International Champions Cup match in Limerick.

Boyata suffered a hamstring injury during the Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Rangers at Hampden in April.

And after he was named in his country's squad for Euro 2016, the former Manchester City player then tore a muscle which ruled him out of the tournament just 10 days before the action got under way in France.

Dedryck Boyata (centre) with Colin Kazim-Richards, Saidy Janko (22) and the Premiership trophy
Image: Dedryck Boyata (centre) with Colin Kazim-Richards, Saidy Janko (22) and the Premiership trophy

It was a bitter blow for the 25-year-old, but he has learned to be patient during his period of rehabilitation, and he was relieved to play for 45 minutes on Saturday.

"I feel good to be back on the pitch and to be able to touch the ball. It's been a long time but I'm happy. That's life," Boyata said to Celtic TV.

"The last few months have been really frustrating but I got over it. The Rangers game, the injury, going back to the national team, then another injury, missing the Euros, missing pre-season, you know that's life.

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"Life goes on and I just worked hard to get myself back. We know how football is, there are ups and downs, and if you think about the downs you are never going to go forward. Football is my life and being on the pitch is what I do best.

Celtic's Dedryck Boyata (right) with Paul McGinn at full-time
Image: Boyata joined Celtic from Man City in 2015

"I had to work hard and it was mentally tough for the people around me as it should have been the best two months of my life but it wasn't. Now it's about thinking of the future and I keep going.

"I just have to take things step by step. Of course, I want to be back on the pitch as quickly as possible. I got 45 minutes on Saturday and we have to see how it goes in the following days and weeks. I feel good but you don't want to over-step it."

Saturday match with the Nerazzurri was also Boyata's first taste of action since Brendan Rodgers took over as Celtic manager during the summer.

And Boyata has been impressed by the former Liverpool and Swansea boss since his arrival at Celtic Park.

"I've enjoyed it so far under the new manger," Boyata said. "We know Brendan's past as a coach and the experience he has. We can learn a lot from him."

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