It wasn’t so long ago that Emilio Izaguirre feared the only way he’d be back at Celtic Park was if he was asked to do the half-time draw.

Although he was invited back for Celtic captain Scott Brown’s testimonial game against the Republic of Ireland the day after Brendan Rodgers' side had completed a back-to-back treble, international commitments meant that the full-back was unable to accept the offer for the gala afternoon.

The Honduran internationalist left the club after a seven-year spell in Glasgow last term as he headed to Al-Fayha in Saudi Arabia. It was there that Izaguirre felt he would see out the remainder of his career, only to realise fairly quickly that he had made a wrong move as his family struggled to settle.

A switch to the MLS in America seemed likely to follow only for things to take a sharp u-turn a few weeks back when Celtic made it known that there was a place in the squad for him if he wanted to take it.

There was no decision to make when the call came from Glasgow.

“It took just one minute….one second!” smiled the Honduran. “I had an opportunity to go to the MLS but I said Celtic. I think it is the best decision.

“For me it was difficult. I was here for seven years and then I had to say goodbye. I missed it a lot. I never thought that I could come back here. I was thinking about going to MLS because I had an offer there but then I heard from Celtic. It is a blessing for me to come back here.

“I was surprised. Celtic are a big team. They are always looking forward for trophies and for the Champions League. But they have given me this opportunity and I am here to help the team.

“I was always positive. I was here at Celtic for seven years. It was my home and I won a lot of trophies here. I was always thinking about coming back to here to work or to play. God has given me this opportunity to play and I will do the best that I can.”

Izaguirre was signed the first time by Celtic in 2010 by Neil Lennon and enjoyed a successful period with the club, winning six titles, three Scottish Cups and two League Cups.

The remit this season will be to add to that haul as Celtic look to maintain their stranglehold on Scottish football but for Izaguirre, being back among familiar faces is more important to him than the silverware that may bolster his collection at the end of this season.

Instead, the fullback is grateful to be back at the bosom of a club where he formed an emotional attachment in his first stint.

“The medals are so important, but it’s the people at Celtic which is more important for me,” he said.

“The love from the fans, the staff, everyone, I’m happy to see them every day. That’s the winner.

“I won 11 medals here before, but they are a blessing. The more important is to win friends every day here in Glasgow.

“I am happy to be back. It is my home. I played seven years here. Yes. It is good to be back in Scotland. My daughter was born here and my son spent seven years here. We have so many friends here in Glasgow too.”

Izaguirre will allow Celtic youngster Calvin Miller to head out on loan and will also mean that Kieran Tierney is given a break for constant exposure.

Celtic played 61 competitive games last term of which Tierney played in 55 of them. Throw in his appearances for Scotland over the course of a season and there is an appreciation as to why there is a need for cover in order to give him a breather.

At 21, Tierney will be expected to play the vast majority of games this term but having Izaguirre available will give scope for the player to take a back seat at times when the games are piling up or when he is nursing a knock.

Having been understudy to Tierney in his final year at Celtic, the Honduran knows what to expect and he has no qualms about making himself available as a squad player.

“In a football team, we have 24 players,” said Izaguirre. “You don’t know what will happen in the game. Maybe someone gets injured and you need all 24 players ready to play. Play or not play, I am here at Celtic to help the team.

“Last season I played all the games – league and Cup. I played 30 games. The football is different. The weather is different, professionalism is different. But it was different. I missed it. I am just looking forward to the future now.

“I signed for Celtic in 2010 and I started to love Celtic. I won trophies and for five or six years I always played every game. And then KT came through and I was still very happy. I also try to be positive. But like a fan, I missed the


“I watched every game [last season]. Saudi is two hours time difference, so I’d watch every game as I’m a fan and I love the club.

“Scotland is my home. My kids missed it a lot and we were thinking about coming back to live in Glasgow.”