Celtic midfielder Lewis Morgan seeks regular starting spot
Lewis Morgan has no shortage of belief that he already possesses the level of ability necessary to nail down a regular first-team place at Celtic.
But the 21-year-old attacking midfielder feels it is his versatility which could ultimately prove the key factor in his efforts to become a success story at the Scottish champions.
So far, Morgan has risen almost effortlessly to the challenge of every step up in class he has faced following his £300,000 move to Celtic from St Mirren.
He emerged with credit from making his full Scotland breakthrough in the end of season trip to Peru and Mexico, then earlier this week earned praise for his contribution as a substitute when he made his competitive Celtic debut in the 3-0 win over Alashkert in Armenia in the first leg of the Champions League first qualifying round tie.
Morgan knows he faces stiff competition if he is to become a first pick in Brendan Rodgers’ side, with James Forrest, Callum McGregor, Scott Sinclair, Tom Rogic, Ryan Christie and Scott Allan all currently in contention for the advanced midfield slots.
But as he prepares to make his first appearance for the club at Celtic Park in today’s friendly against Standard Liege, Morgan is ready to seize his opportunity wherever and whenever it presents itself.
“I have played in all four positions across the front during my career so far and I am versatile,” he said. “There is so much quality in this Celtic squad, there are always going to be players battling for the positions. That’s healthy competition but it does help me that I can play in different areas.
“My main position is on the left but I have been on the right – which is where I played when I came on in Armenia – and that’s been good too, as I just want to get minutes on the pitch. It will be a tough task to get in the team but I want to push on.
“I had sampled a few friendlies before Tuesday night but being involved in the Champions League for the first time was great. It was a good result for us too.
“It was another step for me and I enjoyed the experience. European football was alien to me and I’d never played on that stage before. But it was another big moment in a short period of time and I really enjoyed it.
“The conditions were tough. It was probably the hottest I have ever experienced in terms of a game. The boys did really well and you could see towards the end of the game that we were the team pushing on.
“Some people probably thought that the home team would be doing that, but we finished stronger. These ties are tough. They are never easy.
“We have seen that in the past with several teams. It’s a long journey but we went out there and did a job. Hopefully that sets us up for the next round if we get through.”
This time last year, Morgan was preparing to start his season with a Betfred Cup tie for St Mirren against Stranraer at Stair Park. He is fully appreciative of his dramatic change in environment.
“I am in a different place from 12 months ago but that is what I always aspired to,” he added. “I felt that I could get to this level if I put my mind to it.
“It has probably come quicker than I thought it would but I am here, settled and enjoying every minute of it. Life has been hectic since I joined up with the team. There have been a lot of games and a lot of travelling but I knew that would be the case. I am trying to take it all in my stride but the games are coming thick and fast now.
“The biggest difference is the standard and the intensity. Everything goes up a level when you come to a club like this. You see that by the demands that the players put on themselves. Everything is taken seriously.
“I’m not saying it wasn’t like that at other clubs, but winning is bred right through Celtic. Whether it’s a possession drill or something, everyone is always trying to do their best and keep the demands high.
“Saturday will be my first game at Celtic Park and it will be another tough game against good opposition. It’s important that we get another good result and push on.”