LIAM SCALES has gone from Siberia to the Celtic first team, and such has been his rise, he is now even featuring in transfer stories and being linked with moves to other clubs.

It has been mentioned in despatches that the centre-back has been attracting the attention of Belgian side Anderlecht with his recent performances for club and country, but there is no doubt where Scales wants to be for the long haul.

He may well get his wish, with Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers saying last week that he hopes to reward Scales with a new long-term contract at the club, and while the player himself is taking a back seat in any negotiations to extend his current deal - set to expire in 2025 - he is clear about where he sees his future.

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“Look I love playing here, it’s the happiest I’ve been in football these last few months playing every week,” Scales said.

“If I can do that for as long as I can then brilliant. But I put these things to the back of my mind and let other people deal with that so I can get on with what goes on on the pitch.

“It’s great to hear the manager say that [about a new deal]. It shows I’ve impressed and done what I’ve always wanted to do - get into the team and play regularly.

“I suppose that’s what comes with it. But I leave it in the background and just play football.

“I’m loving it here at the moment. As a kid from Ireland brought up this is where I’d want to be and playing regularly.

“I’m happy here and I definitely wouldn’t want to rush away from it.”

The chance to play for Celtic in the Stadio Olimpico is another bucket list item ticked off for Scales in a series of them over the past few months, and he is determined to make it a night to remember both on the field, and off it.

“It’s been brilliant,” he said.

“The last three stadiums now have been amazing, and it is has just been a great experience overall to be playing in these places against these teams.

“This is the peak of club football land I think it is every player’s dream to play in the Champions League.

“To be here in this situation and playing against these massive clubs in these stadiums, it is a bit of a dream to be fair.

“I do sort of take that into account and try to take it in as much as I can and enjoy it as much as I can, because you never know how many games you are going to play in the Champions League. I just want to make the most of this opportunity.

“We’re looking forward to it. I’ve just been out to see the stadium and the pitch and it is unbelievable.

“We can’t wait to get out there. We obviously need to go and win the game to have a chance of staying in Europe until after Christmas and that is what we are here to do.”

If they are to do that, then there are certain aspects of their game which will have to be rectified, with their focus in their defending and their discipline in the tackle high among them.

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“We’ve come close and not quite got there,” Scales said.

“Certain things like sending-offs have obviously hurt us in two of the games, the late goal against Lazio and the draw against Atletico Madrid at home, we played very well that day.

“I think we all just want to go and win and show we can do it at this level. We know we can, we have come close, and it is just about being ruthless and getting over the line.

“We try to go into every game trying to win, but now we know it is do or die, we win or we’re out.

“It does motivate you to go and do the best you can, but in the other games we’ve tried to win them just as much.

“It has been tough, but we’ll definitely have a right go tomorrow.”