YOU could say that Dedryck Boyata’s World Cup hopes are up in the air right now.

While the 27-year-old Celtic central defender fervently hopes to be on the plane to Russia this summer, he won’t know one way or another until he touches down on the runway for the short summer break he has planned in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell.

With Belgium’s 23-man group not being made public until this Monday – and luminaries such as Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany, and Spurs’ Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen vying for places – the Hampden showpiece isn’t just a chance to make history with Celtic.

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It is a final attempt for this native of Brussels, an ever present in squads throughout the qualification campaign, to impress his international manager Roberto Martinez.

“It will be a huge 48 hours for me, but as soon as the final is over, I am going on holiday,” said Boyata. “When the squad is announced for the national team, I’ll be on the plane, so I’ll find out later in the evening. I’ll be in the air.

I won’t have a clue. A few hours later isn’t going to change anything.

“I have worked hard to be in the selection this year – I don’t think I have missed one,” he added. “But there are a lot of players in the squad and to get a place for the World Cup was always going to be difficult. All I can do is keep playing my games, stay fit and then see what is going to happen, but I am not the one making the choices. Playing and winning for Celtic is the first thing I will focus on and if that goes well then maybe the other’s going to come, but of course you never know.

“I’m hopeful, because it’s a dream I’ve had since I was younger. I missed the Euros because of an injury two years ago and it was hard. If I don’t go I’ll be sad, I’m not going to lie, but it’s just how the game goes. For myself, for the moment, I’m just hoping and, of course, there is stress but you just don’t know. That’s just how it is.”

It has taken moving to Glasgow for Boyata to gain a greater appreciation of his hometown. Used to walking past Irish Bars in his native Brussels without a second glance, now he knows all about places like O’Reilly’s, the Michael Collins Bar and Celtica, not to mention the Celtic Supporters Clubs which sometimes attach themselves to them.

“I never knew there were Irish bars in Brussels until I signed here,” said Boyata. “It just shows you how great and big the club is. It is only when you are playing for Celtic and going back home that I realised there are lots of people supporting Celtic – it is great.”

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Boyata knows the history now, but as it turns out he even has some personal family history to link him to Parkhead. Remarkably, no sooner had he signed back in the summer of 2015 than his wife’s grandfather was telling of his love of the club, and showing old strips and pictures.

“I don’t know where that comes from, it’s a strange one,” said Boyata. “My wife’s grandfather was the big Celtic fan but he has since passed away. He was the one going to the pubs.

“I never knew, but when I signed he told us the story that he had been following Celtic for years. My wife is from Belgium, same as me. So I’ve no idea where the link is from. He was a fire worker. It was the same with my agent, he’s got all type of shirts in his room and the fact I had the chance to sign for Celtic was a big thing.

“For myself, as I grew up in Brussels, it was all about Anderlecht – I only found out about Celtic when I came to the UK. Then I saw Broony on TV for years and being able to play here along with them and make history is a great thing.”

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Boyata isn’t the type to rest on his laurels and reflect on what he has achieved in his game. But for all the periodic criticisms of his distribution at stages this season, the Belgian is finishing the season with three league winners’ medals already stored away in the office of his house. Last year’s Treble win was perhaps the best moment of his career and he hopes for more of the same.

“Winning the Treble last year was a great moment,” he said. “For myself, I always take winning things seriously.

“All the medals I have are in my office. All the things I have from when I was a boy. Maybe right now because we are always playing in games and things are going really quickly, you don’t really think about it.

“For example, I got a medal last week, but straight away I have to think about a final this week. But in future years, I’m sure I’m going to look back at what we have done. I’m just enjoying the moment right now.

“These are the type of games where lots of people will ask for tickets, family and important people around you. There’s not enough for everyone, so I have to make choices!

“We know that no-one has been able to do the Treble twice in a row and it might be a good day in history for us. But then we know that we have to go and work hard for it. As a player you want to be part of the history and mark your name somewhere. If you manage to do it, it will be unbelievable for us.

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“We knew it would be very difficult to do what we did last season but we still have the chance to win the Treble and we might not have that chance again in the future. It is a big day for us. It is not going to be easy of course but if we manage to do it, it will be a big day.”

With the brawny Curtis Main and Ryan Bowman up front, Motherwell’s physicality as a team is already the stuff of legend. Boyata knows his team face a battle, but is reluctant to say the Lanarkshire side go over the score.

“We played against them three times against them in a week, so we’ve played a lot against them,” he said.

“They’ve got that reputation of being a physical team, and we know it. So we know we have to go for a battle and we have to go and get it. We know it’s a final and anything can happen.

“For us we will be playing for the history, but for Motherwell it is as big a chance for them too so you never know what can happen.

“I’m sure they are going to be there and give 100%, so it’s going to be a big fight, of that there is no doubt. In the past, we’ve had examples with challenges with elbows and everything but I don’t think from our team I don’t think I’ve heard anyone will say anything about them being too physical.

“We know they will be well organised and are going to be up for the challenges so we have to be up for them as well and play our game.”