LIAM SCALES isn’t about to tell anyone that he has arrived at Celtic to be the new Billy McNeill. But his choice of number upon signing for the club is a sign of his personal ambition to at least have a stab at attaining a sliver of the success the late, great Cesar enjoyed at Celtic Park.

With one of the club’s greatest ever players providing the inspiration, and with an immediate aspiration to become a mainstay of Ange Postecoglou’s team, there is certainly no inferiority complex about the defender as he makes the step up to Celtic from Shamrock Rovers in the League of Ireland.

When asked if he had a hand in being given the iconic number five jersey, Scales said: “Yeah I did. Obviously it’s a massive number here and it’s a number I’ve work before in my career as a defender.

“I had a part in choosing it. I noticed historically the players that have worn it who have had great Celtic careers. Hopefully I can do the same.

“At the end of the day I think any number that I chose I was always going to do as well as I could and work as hard as I could to get in the team and to be successful here.

“Just to wear such a famous number, it does inspire rather become daunting.”

Scales is similarly undaunted when it comes to assessing his state of readiness for the Celtic first team.

“Once I heard about it, I was certain that it was the move for me,” he said. “It was just great to get it done. It’s good to be in Glasgow now.

“There has been no timeline discussed, I suppose it’s completely up to the manager. I love the thought of just being thrown in at the deep end, but at the end of the day it’s not up to me.

“I feel ready, and I suppose I’ve always been like that. I’ve always looked forward to a challenge and a step up. I’m ambitious, I’m young and just want to do as well as I can.

“I know this is a massive opportunity for me to progress in my career, so I think it’s the right mindset to have. Coming in here and thinking ‘I’m not ready, it’s going to take me a few months to get to levels’, it would make it a lot harder coming in here with that sort of mindset.

“I’m just really looking forward to the next month, the games coming up, and I’m just really focused on that.”

So, Celtic fans may get a glimpse of the new man as soon as tomorrow against Ross County if Scales gets his way. Where they will see him play is another matter.

The versatile Scales can operate either at centre-back, left-back or left wing-back, and as long as he gets to wear a Celtic jersey, he isn’t too fussed about which.

“I have no preference,” he said. “I’ve played in back fives, back threes, back fours, as a centre-back or left wing-back.

“Over the last couple of seasons I’ve learned to play in each position almost equally as well.

“I was probably originally more comfortable as a centre-half, but after getting maybe 30 or 40 games under my belt as a left wing-back, it has improved me in that position as well.

“The main thing for me would be to get into the team regardless of what position it is.

“The manager hasn’t said anything to me about it.”

As some fans of clubs outside Glasgow’s big two believe, a move to Celtic can often be the final piece of the jigsaw for a player to earn international recognition, often before they have even pulled on their new jersey. It seems it is a phenomenon that stretches across the Irish Sea, with Scales being called up by Stephen Kenny for the Republic of Ireland for the first time this week.

Whatever part the move to Celtic played in helping him to gain that recognition, Scales is absolutely certain that plying his trade in the club’s first team will help him to stay there.

“It’s been a mad week – signing for Celtic then in the same week getting called into the international squad for the first time,” he said. “It was a great experience, just great to be involved, to get a foot in the door and to meet all the players.

“I worked with the manager with the Irish under 21s over the past few years so I already knew him. But just to be involved with the players and train with them, it was a great experience.

“My aim is to get into the international side but I can only do that by playing regularly at club level – there are things I have to do here before that can happen. I need to work hard if there are going to be call-ups in the future.”