IT’S not often that a late call to work over Christmas is welcomed, but then again, not everyone has the same job as Joey Dawson.

The Celtic youngster was handed a shock debut in the win over St Johnstone, replacing the injured Kyogo up front early in the match, making missing out on his turkey and Brussels sprouts seem a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things.

And he says he is willing to do whatever it takes to convince manager Ange Postecoglou he deserves to hang around the first-team picture a little bit longer.

“I found out on Thursday that I might not get to go home for Christmas,” Dawson said. “Tommy [McIntyre, coach of the Celtic B Team] rang me and said: ‘The first team might need you’. It was a bittersweet moment, but obviously it was all worth it on Sunday.

“Obviously I went into to training, but I spent Christmas by myself. But Sunday made it all worth it without a doubt. I would do it for the next 15, 20 Christmases if I had to, if it meant feelings like I had on Sunday.

“I would have been at home spending time with the family, but it is not a bad way to spend Boxing Day is it? Coming on and making my Celtic debut? You couldn’t ask for any more.”

The 18-year-old may have been forgiven for exhibiting some nerves when his manager turned to him so early in the game when Kyogo went down, but he had come prepared for such an eventuality.

“Even if he doesn’t [get injured] I am always going to be ready to come on the pitch and hopefully take my chance when I got on," he said.

"Obviously the manager called me down and it was just pure excitement and elation.

“It felt unbelievable. To go from playing at East Kilbride on Wednesday to playing for the first team on Sunday was a big jump, but that just proves you’ve got to be ready in football and take your chance when you get it.

“It was a surprise to be honest. Obviously it has been a tough few days for the lads with Covid cases, injuries, etc. But, like I said, you’ve got to be ready in this game.”

It may be Dawson’s family’s pedigree in the game that has prepared him for that step up, with his uncle Michael - the former England international and Tottenham centre-back – appearing emotional on Sky Sports as he watched his nephew take to the field on Boxing Day. His father Andy also used to play for Scunthorpe United, where Celtic signed him from in the summer.

Though, as those from a famous footballing heritage will testify, such a background can be both a blessing and curse when you are trying to make a name for yourself in the game.

“Them two have been really good with me, always giving me advice and that,” he said. “But at the end of the day I want to be my own player.

“I want people to know me as me and not as my uncle’s nephew or my dad’s son. That’s my aim.”

A more appropriate role model, given his own position on the pitch, is the man he replaced at McDiarmid Park on Sunday.

“He’s top,” Dawson said. “What you see on the pitch I see every day in training, his sharp movements, everything. That’s what I want to be, I want to look up to him. Obviously I will take some learning aspects from it.”

The prospect of displacing a fit Kyogo from the team may be a distant one just yet for Dawson, but the willingness of manager Postecoglou to throw young players into his side is encouragement enough for now.

“That is the motivation,” he said. “When you see Moff [Owen Moffat] and Monty [Adam Montgomerie] and even Dano [Dane Murray] at the start of the season pushing though and playing for the first team.

“You look up and think: ‘I want that’. Obviously it came for me on Sunday. I was lucky enough to get a few minutes under my belt. Now I just want more.”