IN Neil Lennon's eyes, Kelvin Wilson peaked in a city on the edge of the Alps.

Watching his centre-back cope with a hungry Juventus in Turin convinced the Celtic manager that his judgment in Wilson had finally been vindicated.

It was a symbolic moment for the man from Nottingham. Wilson's career was shaped by the same tradition that helped Juventus make their name. The black and white shirts of Notts County, famously shipped out to Turin in 1903, have been turned into a global brand by the Italian side.

A century on, Wilson was pulling on his Notts County shirt. He made his debut as an 18-year-old in 2004 but it has taken a gradual evolution, exchanging his County shirt for ones at Preston North End, Nottingham Forest and Celtic, for Wilson to show his true colours.

Today, the 27-year-old will have the chance to justify Lennon's praise. Victory over St Mirren in Paisley will nudge Celtic closer to a second successive Clydesdale Bank Premier League title and, unlike last season, Wilson's contribution will be clearly recognisable.

Uncertainty, on and off the pitch, following his arrival in June 2011 has been replaced by a presence of mind which shone all the way through Celtic's Champions League progress to the last 16. Wilson now looks as if he belongs in Glasgow.

"Kelvin had a tough first year," said Lennon. "He had a brilliant campaign in the Champions League and enhanced his reputation. I played with him at Forest (in 2007) and I could see real potential, and now he's fulfilled that. He has come out of his shell. The players respect him now. He has earned it on the pitch and Kelvin has been one of our best players this season.

"He was a bit shocked by the size of the club and everything that came with it. Then he was out for three months with an Achilles problem. We only got glimpses of his form last season. He had a few personal issues and sorted those out. Now we're seeing the best of him.

"I thought he might have had a sniff of the England squad. Roy Hodgson was at the Juventus game here and was really impressed with Kelvin's performance, and I thought he was even better in Turin."

Wilson's take on that observation is simply to offer a modest acknowledgement – a theme which re-emerges when he talks about playing for England.

"I did okay," he said. "But I don't think any player embarrassed themselves. We stood up to our jobs and it was very good to get to the last 16; it proved we coped.

"This season has been satisfying. My form has been more consistent and I've played 17 games in a row without getting injured."

Unlike the majority of his colleagues at Celtic Park, Wilson was not involved on international duty over the last two weeks, so he returned to Nottingham.

"I was down south seeing my family and my daughter," he said. "It was the perfect time for a break. There should be more of them.

"It's nice to be mentioned by the manager, but first and foremost is Celtic. Fraser Forster has been rewarded for his performances but it's not the end of the world if it does not happen. Playing for England never crossed my mind when I was a young footballer.

"When I look at the talent England have, I'm not the type to sit and say 'I'm better than him'. I watch Match of the Day and see all the good central defenders. If it happens for me then it happens. If it does not, I will not lose any sleep."

Wilson did not have time to get carried away on a Turin cloud. He came down to earth three days later when he conceded a dreadful goal to Aberdeen in Celtic's 4-3 victory.

"I should have put my foot through the ball," he said. "I'm 27 and if I don't know the opening goal against Aberdeen was my fault, then I should not be playing. We are not the finished article and we're not the best players in the world. We will concede goals. That happens."

Celtic have faced St Mirren since Danny Lennon's side inflicted the 3-2 Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final defeat two months ago, but they found their William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final victory in Paisley similarly difficult. Much of that is down to the presence of Steven Thompson, whose goal in the final against Hearts proved pivotal to his home town's win.

"Steven is a strong boy," said Wilson of the player he encountered for Cardiff City. "He's a target man. He recognises what his game is and is clever. It did not surprise me he took the League Cup final by the scruff of the neck."

Wilson has done the same to his own career.