BEFORE making his comeback from the wilderness with Celtic and eventually winning international honours with Belgium, Dedryck Boyata famously worked out at a deserted Lennoxtown in the wee small hours.

Christopher Jullien may be keeping a rather more regular schedule, but he is having a little taste of such an experience this week with the majority of his teammates away on international duty. He is hoping though that he will follow in Boyata’s footsteps by proving he can cut it at centre-back for one of the best teams in international football.

Jullien had a successful career in the youth ranks with France, and was part of a squad containing the likes of Paul Pogba, Samuel Umtiti and Alphonse Areola as they conquered the world back in 2013. When they lifted the World Cup at senior level in Russia last year though, Jullien could only watch on, being one of the few from that group of players yet to win a full cap for his country.

He is hoping that at 26, time is still on his side to force his way into Didier Deschamps’s thoughts in the future and fulfil his international ambitions through starring for Celtic.

“I won the Under-20 World Cup with France and it was the first trophy of my career,” Jullien said.

“It was just unbelievable playing in that team. I think eight of the first eleven have played for the full national team.

“I’m really happy that they made the French team, but in my head, I am disappointed in myself because I think I can do it and I would love to do it. The step is very high, but I will keep working.

“I was a little bit used to [staying at my club in the international break] before this year. After playing for the young team in France stopped, I knew the international break was a time to focus on myself and the things I need to work on.

“It’s really quiet in Lennoxtown with not many players around and I’m happy there are so many international players here.

“I have some more days off, but I’d love to cut those days off to become an international player. It’s my dream to be an international player.

“When you touch it a little bit when you are young, and you see others you have played with going on to represent France, it’s unbelievable. As I say, it’s a dream but I know I am far from it just now because there are so many good players.

“But, yes, of course, who does not dream of playing for their country?”

Playing as well as he did in Celtic’s eye-catching win over Lazio in Rome last week will surely only help his cause, with Jullien a stand-out as Neil Lennon’s side made it a double over the Italian giants.

He did, of course, score the last-gasp winner in the first meeting between the pair at Celtic Park too, but he is keeping his feet on the ground as he aims to simply keep improving with his club, and letting the international honours fall where they may as a result.

“You don’t have that kind of game every week, but it was really good [in Rome],” he said.

“I’m just trying to keep the momentum going. All my teammates are good with me and I will just try to do my best to help the team.

“It was not easy to come into a team that wins everything. It’s really difficult but I’m just trying to do my best every day then you never know what will happen in football.

“In football, it all happens so fast. I’m just trying to remain focused.

“Who knows? If you have the number of the national trainer in France and you want to call him about me there’s no problem!

“It would be a dream but there are so many good players in that team – that’s why they won the World Cup.”

Jullien is hoping that teammate Olivier Ntcham can also take great encouragement from his own match-winning moment against Lazio.

The midfielder, who has 18 caps for France at under-21 level but was recently called up by Cameroon for their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against Cape Verde and Rwanda, has had a difficult start to the season with Celtic, finding first-team action a little hard to come by.

But Jullien believes his late winner in the Stadio Olimpico can be a springboard for his good friend to find his best form once again.

“It was really good, I was really happy for him,” he said. “He’s had some problems this season so far, so I’m really happy.

“Since I arrived here, he has stayed with me as a friend and has made me feel better on the field, which has been really nice.

“We all know his talent, so I’m not afraid for him. The fact he has been in and out of the team says a lot about or squad. When you have quality and talent like that, sometimes you won’t be playing every game.

“We are all together though, and that just shows the strength that we have.

“It’s really good for the team I think that in every training session you have to fight for your place.

“That keeps the momentum going and it’s really good for us.”

*Christopher Jullien was speaking as Celtic announced a new three-year sponsorship deal with Eden Mill as the club’s official gin and whisky partner.