SCOTT McKenna being linked with a move to Celtic has become as much of a summer tradition in Scotland in the past few years as fans of the Parkhead club descending on Trongate in their tens of thousands to celebrate a Premiership victory.

So it has not really been a huge surprise to see stories tipping the centre-back, whose contract with Nottingham Forest expires at the end of the month, to join the Glasgow giants in the close season resurface in recent weeks.

The 35-times capped 27-year-old is focusing fully on the Euro 2024 finals, which get underway when the national team take on hosts Germany in the Allianz Arena in Munich on Friday night, at the moment.

McKenna revealed that he has informed his representatives that he does not wish to discuss his future until after the tournament when he spoke to the media following another Scotland training session at Stadion am Groben in Garmisch-Partenkirchen yesterday.

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However, the former Aberdeen defender, who has spent the last four months on loan at Copenhagen in Denmark, confessed that he would, despite plying his trade at the highest level in England and Europe in the past two seasons, be open to returning to his homeland.

(Image: PA) The man who played in every minute of a last 16 Champions League double header against defending champions Manchester City in February and March also admitted that he is eager to play in the continent’s elite club competition again in future.

Joining Celtic, who will go straight into the group stages next term courtesy of their third consecutive Premiership win, would give him with the opportunity to do that.  

“My own situation is completely on the back burner just now,” said McKenna. “I just have to do everything I can in training to try and get whatever minutes I can on the pitch here. Anything after that will take care of itself. 

“Is it a chance to put myself in the shop window? Absolutely, there is no bigger stage if you are on the pitch. But I can only do that by first and foremost training well and trying to get in the manager’s thoughts. 

“But, to be honest, I am open to anything. I would never rule anything out. But in terms of the speculation, that’s all it’s ever been. It has never really gone any further than that and until there is anything that’s more than that I don’t really have anything to think about. 

“No, there is absolutely nothing. There’s been no contract talks anywhere, really. As I mentioned, my sole focus is to try and get as many minutes as I can here if the opportunity arises and, as we mentioned, there’s no bigger shop window than this. 

“My agents are brilliant like that anyway. They would not interrupt me. Obviously if something comes up and they feel the need to tell me, they will do so. But they are not the phone stressing me out telling me about all the small details.” 

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McKenna has grown accustomed to being linked to Celtic during a transfer window – he joked yesterday that it was more unusual for him not to be - and stressed that no approach has been made to him by the Scottish champions this year or at any stage in the past.

“I think there were a few down south when I was playing every week and everyone knew I was happy there was none of that,” he said. “But I think obviously as contracts run down it starts to pick up a bit. But as I mentioned, there has never really been any substance to it in terms of conversations with the club or anything like that.”

(Image: PA) Would he think about becoming a member of Brendan Rodgers’ squad if contact was made? “I’m without a club so I think I would need to consider anything,” he said. “But, as I mentioned, there is nothing as of now so there is nothing to think about.”

The Kirriemuir-born player squared up to the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Erling Haaland and Bernardo Silva when Copenhagen faced City and he is eager to test himself against the best forwards in the world game again in Europe in the seasons to come. 

“They went full strength and it was a bit mad to come from the winter break straight into the Champions League,” he said. “It was an unbelievable atmosphere to come into. It brings out the best in people, especially when there is so much on the game as well. All the pressure tends to bring out the best in people. 

“Obviously you want to get as much of it as you can. Whether that happens or not, I can’t control that. It was a fantastic experience even though it was a pretty heavy defeat (the Danish champions lost 6-2 on aggregate to their English counterparts).”

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McKenna’s time at Forest, who he joined in a £3m move back in 2020, did not end well following a fall-out with former manager Steve Cooper. He looks back on his time at the City Ground, though, with fondness and a sense of pride. 

“You never want anything to end like that,” he said. “But I think I have to look back over the four years that I spent there. I don’t think anyone could have imagined achieving what we did.

“The first season we struggled. At the start of the second season we were bottom of the league after seven or eight games. The way we managed to turn it round and get promoted through the play-offs was incredible.

“The following year I had a few injuries and played a bit less maybe, I think I played about 50 per cent of the games. But I still played a part as we managed to survive in the Premier League, which was a massive achievement for the club.

“The Premier League is obviously where a club the size of Forest should be. Obviously contract situations come up all the time in football and the way they wanted to deal with it was by not playing me. But thankfully they let me go on loan in January, which gave me the opportunity to be here. 

“Obviously the opportunity to play in the Champions League made it a no-brainer, but it was an excellent league as well, very technical. Even the teams that finished in the bottom six play out from the back and play proper football, which surprised me a bit. It was a great experience for me.”

Representing Scotland at Euro 2024 in Germany will be as well - and Scott McKenna is ignoring all of the rumours about him joining Celtic this summer so he can perform at his very best in the coming days.

(Image: PA)