Nigeria defender Efe Ambrose is confident he will thrive under the guidance of new Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers.
Ambrose has often been criticised by Celtic fans for his erratic performances but he is set to be named in the starting line-up for Rodgers’ first competitive Celtic match, Tuesday’s Champions League second qualifying round clash with Lincon Red Imps of Gibraltar.
Admitting he has endured some difficult times over his stop-start Celtic career, Ambrose, 27, who was recently linked with Bayer Leverkusen, told the Daily Mail: “Yeah, it’s tough sometimes. But, when it gets tough, that’s when you show your character, determination and willpower.
“Sometimes it has been really tough for me. But I am a man. I never give up, I always stand up, I keep on fighting. I am a fighter. The most important thing is that the club always comes first.
“Really, I am always happy. You have to be happy and content with life. I give thanks to God because we are all here because of Him. He gives us life and the opportunity to be here.
“So, every day, when I see the breaking of the day, I thank God – and then the next thing I think about is football. I really love playing this game. It has given me my daily bread, so how could I not love it?
“For me, Celtic is a place I really love – and I want to be part of it. There is no place like home. And Celtic is home for me. I’m ready to do everything to remain here and continue playing here.
“You can see the philosophy of the team, the history behind the club, the objective of this group. That is what means so much to me.
“It’s one thing that every player dreams of, to play for a club like Celtic. It was a dream for me. Since I arrived at Celtic, I knew I’d never been anywhere like this before. Every day, I saw that.
“I knew I had to work very hard to earn the honour of playing for this club, to wear the green and white of Celtic. I want to help the club, to improve every day so I can make a contribution.
“But, as you know, the past few years have not been great. The most important thing now is that the new gaffer has come in, we’ve put all that behind us – and the objective now is to focus on the new season.
“Every gaffer has his own philosophy, his own style and his own ideas about how he wants the team to play. His style is different. The way we play, the objectives he’s set us, we’ve bought into the intensity. Everybody is willing to give everything for the club.”
Ambrose, while praising Rodgers, had a pop at ex-Celtic bosd Ronny Deila, who ofter dropped him.
“In the past two years, I don’t think we have had good preparation before the Champions League games,” the Super Eagles star added.
“But now you can see the manager has made everyone come in earlier so we can prepare properly and have more time to get ready for the game.
“The games we have played have been good preparation. We are determined and are focused on the play-off games because we know what it means to us, the fans and Celtic as a whole to qualify this time.
“For two years we have not been there – and that’s not been Celtic. So this time we want to get back to being Celtic, to how we used to be, to play in the Champions League and compete there. That is our focus and aim.
“The manager has told me to keep it simple. He told me I have everything he needs and he sees what I can bring to the team. All he has said is to play simple, don’t force it. As a defender you have to focus, stay compact and he has brought that into training; the way he wants to play.
“I believe he has already helped us individually and as a team. He will help to improve us. We have been together for three weeks and we have already improved. With him, I believe, we can do much better this season.”