Jonny Hayes is not taking his fitness for granted anymore after returning to training following a broken leg.
The winger’s debut campaign at Celtic Park was disrupted by a serious leg injury suffered at Dens Park shortly after Christmas last season.
He made just 20 appearances following his move from Aberdeen in the summer before being sidelined, but has returned to training with the rest of the squad at their pre-season camp in Austria.
The 30-year-old admits he could have been back before the end of the season, but is making the most of his return to fitness.
“Every day feels like a reward,” he told Celtic TV. “A lot of work went in with the physios and the medical team and it was a long road, but now it feels like every day and getting out in training is a reward for what we have done.
“There were some days when you have that nagging in the back of your head thinking ‘am I going to come back?’ and you’re never 100 per cent sure until you are back and training with the boys.
“I could probably have trained two or three months ago.”
He added: “I’m still a bit excited, running around a bit too much.
“It’s been a long time coming, getting back with the boys last week. I don’t take it for granted, it’s exciting to be back in.”
Despite being forced out of action just months after joining, Hayes says he always felt part of the squad under Brendan Rodgers.
Celtic went on to claim a second successive domestic treble and despite playing a reduced part in the campaign, he does not feel as though he missed out on the experience.
He said: “I wouldn’t say it was frustrating. You want to play but the emphasis the manager has here on the squad, staff and club as a whole, it made it that little bit easier.
“Other clubs I have been at before you would get pushed to one side and forgotten about, but the ethos the manager has here, everyone is in it together and everybody knows we all work towards one goal and because of that I felt more involved.”