SCOTT Sinclair was well and truly on the ropes after disappointing spells at Manchester City and Aston Villa and came out fighting.

His combative approach to the rocky patch he encountered has paid dividends and resulted in him enjoying an outstanding debut season at Celtic and being named PFA Scotland Player of the Year by his fellow professionals.

Yet, the winger feels the success which he has experienced in this country in recent months is insignificant in comparison with that of his friend – the world heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua.

Read more: Player of the Year Scott Sinclair going nowhere after rediscovering love of the game at Celtic

The 28-year-old may, having helped the Scottish champions qualify for the Champions League group stages and win the Betfred Cup and Ladbrokes Premiership while going undefeated domestically, have enjoyed a knockout season.

But he thinks that Joshua, who unified the IBF, WBA (Super) and IBO titles with his win over Wladimir Klitchschko at a packed Wembley last month, still holds the upper hand with what he has achieved.

The former bricklayer spent time in prison on remand for affray as a young man and was forced to wear an electronic tag when he was released. He was later arrested for drug dealing and given community service.

But the London-born fighter learned from those experiences, turned his life around and won a gold medal at super-heavyweight at the Olympic Games in 2012. He has won all 19 of his fights by knockout since turning professional in 2013.

Sinclair, who flew straight from the 5-1 win over Rangers at Ibrox to be ringside alongside 90,000 other fistic fans at the Klitchschko fight, revealed his countryman is a constant inspiration to him.

“He is such a good, humble guy,” he said. “He is a superstar now. It’s great to see what he is doing.

“I think I’ve been to his last three fights. I try to go to as many as I can if I’ve got time. It was a bit tight the last time, going from the Rangers game at Ibrox, straight down to London and then back the next day.

Read more: Player of the Year Scott Sinclair going nowhere after rediscovering love of the game at Celtic

“I got to hold his belt after the fight. There are so many people there, his close friends and family were in the ring. But one of his guys, part of the team, asked if I wanted a picture of the belt.”

Sinclair continued: “I just met him in London a couple of years ago. I knew a few of his team, MJ (agent Michael Jarman) and Leon (actor Skinner) who are good guys as well.

“Most of the time we just chat about normal stuff, not football or boxing. We normally talk about everyday life, rather than what we do for a living. When I was younger, I was into every sport and did a bit of boxing. But I do like watching it now.

“Anthony is an inspiration to everyone around him. What he’s had to go through, and boxing is a different path to football, it’s an inspirational story to every youngster out there who wants to pursue a career and stay focused on the track to where they are going.”

That is exactly what Sinclair has done since joining Celtic last summer. He struggled to establish himself at Manchester City and was unable to help Aston Villa stave off relegation last season.

The £3.5 million which Brendan Rodgers spent on his services seemed like something of a gamble. But it has proved money well spent and then some. He is the top scorer in Premiership with 21 goals to his name to date.

He credits Rodgers, who he worked under previously at Swansea City, with bringing the best out in him in recent weeks. “He just gives me that belief,” he said. “When you are playing under a manager like Brendan and you are given that licence and freedom to go out and play and just enjoy it while working hard, you can’t ask for more.

“I’ve played under so many managers who haven’t got time for you to progress. If you have one or two games that aren’t so good athey are under such pressure. With Brendan it’s been unbelievable. I did well at Swansea under him and was at Chelsea as a youngster. He’s just a great manager to work under.”

Sinclair is hopeful he can help Celtic maintain their unbeaten run in their last four games, beat Aberdeen in the William Hill Scottish Cup final later this month and complete what would be only the fourth treble in their history.

“It’s getting closer,” he said. “All we can do is take every step as it comes. People always think we can win the treble, but I think we just need to keep playing like it’s our last game. We’ll then go to the final and hopefully that will the last game to top it off.”

Read more: Player of the Year Scott Sinclair going nowhere after rediscovering love of the game at Celtic

Sinclair, who has been capped by England at every age-group level up to under-21s and represented Great Britain and the Olympics in 2012, has been mentioned in connection with a call-up by his country in recent weeks.

He admitted that he would love to be involved with Gareth Southgate’s side in the Russia 2018 qualifier with Scotland at Hampden next month. “That would be the best one to play,” he said.

“I’ve just got to keep my head down and work hard and hopefully the call comes. Everything is out with my control apart from playing well every week and scoring goals. That’s all I can do”

If the call from Southgate fails to materialise Sinclair will turn his attentions to helping Celtic to qualify for the Champions League group stages for the second seasons running. He is optimistic they can make more of an impression next term.

“Hopefully we can go into the Champions League and go one better than this year,” he said. “That’s the only area where there is room for improvement. We’re definitely better prepared than last year.”