IT is no surprise to learn that Jiri Jarosik’s hometown is in what was once called Bohemia. The talented Czech has wandered between five countries on a football journey that might be considered adventurous, if not bohemian.

Scotland might not have the sunshine which Spain offered when Jarosik played for Real Zaragoza and Alaves, but the warmth of the people is a treasured souvenir which the 38-year-old has taken back home.

Jarosik has returned to Prague, with his Russian wife and one-year-old daughter. The man who made a huge impact on his football life, Gordon Strachan, will be in the city on Thursday for Scotland’s friendly match against the Czech Republic.

It will be played in the Letna Stadium, where Jarosik won six Czech titles with Sparta Prague before leaving for CSKA Moscow in 2003 followed by another title win with Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea before Strachan paid £2 million to bring the tall Czech midfielder to Celtic in June 2006.

In hindsight, the spell at Celtic was a golden one for the man who was born in Usti nad Labem, in what was then Czechoslovakia. The Bohemian will happily rhapsodise about Celtic Park and Strachan.

“I didn’t know much about Gordon Strachan when Celtic wanted to sign me, apart from him being a very good player and famous for Scotland,” admits Jarosik.

“I have to be honest, I did not want to move from England. He persuaded me it would be the right thing. When a team like Celtic comes for you, and offers Champions League football, it’s tempting. But when it is playing in front of one of the greatest supports in the world, that sealed it.

“We won the league twice and the Scottish Cup in 2007, as well as those European nights. I can only say positive things about Gordon Strachan. We got to the last 16 of the Champions League in both seasons. The first time we beat Manchester United with Shunsuke Nakamura’s free-kick – after I was fouled – and lost to AC Milan in the last 16 after extra-time in the San Siro.

“The next season, we beat Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 at Celtic Park to get there. I got the first goal and Massimo Donati got a late winner. It was an incredible atmosphere, something I will never forget.”

Strachan’s side were paired with Barcelona in the last 16 but Jarosik was surprisingly sold a few weeks before the tie to Russian club Krylia Sovetov.

“Sometimes, of course, I had problems with him [Strachan],” Jarosik admits. “That was because I was not playing in every game. But that was not possible at Celtic because he had so many good midfield players, we could not all get a game.

“But I always tried my best and wanted to play. I have played football in five countries and the leagues are all different. The Russian, Spanish, English and Scottish have their own style.

“I think it is more difficult for me to play in Scotland or England but I think I showed that I understood Scottish football. Strachan likes to play passing football and I hope he can be successful with Scotland.”

Jarosik won 23 caps for the Czechs but missed out on the Euro 2004 finals – when they reached the semi-finals only to lose to Greece on a golden goal in extra-time – and is a free agent now and back in Prague after leaving Alaves.

He feels Euro 2016 could see the Czechs flourish in France under their own relatively new national coach, Pavel Vrba, who took over at the same time as Strachan. “Vrba did very well with Viktoria Plzen and got them into the Champions League,” Jarosik said. “I think the Czechs had the same problems as Scotland, of how to replace older players. Vrba’s new team is doing well.

“There are no big stars who play in Italy, like we had before with Pavel Nedved. No Jan Koller or Tomas Rosicky, but what we do have is 10-20 players who can all play at the same level. There is a great team spirit, which is what Vrba did at Viktoria.

“He is also choosing far more players from the Czech league than before, because that’s what he knows and it works. My old club Sparta Prague have some interesting players. I went back there in 2011 for two seasons and played with Borek Dockal and Ladislav Krejci who are both in the squad for the Scotland game.

“They both scored for Sparta Prague on Thursday night when they beat Lazio 3-0 in Rome in the Europa League. A Czech side making the quarter-finals in Europe now is a big thing, just like when Celtic made the last 16 under Strachan.

“That shows the Czech league is producing players. Maybe that is the way for Scotland, too. You have no team in the Champions League or Europa League, so something must change.”