PLAYING for MLS franchise Orlando City against Nashville Soccer Club in a half-full Nissan Stadium will seem a world away if Chris Mueller makes his debut for Hibernian against Celtic at a packed Parkhead this evening.

No disrespect to The Roadies, as the Nashville fans call themselves, but the Green Brigade and their fellow supporters will be a far tougher audience.

Yet, playing in more intimidating atmospheres than those he was accustomed to in his homeland was one of the many attractions in joining Hibs for the United States internationalist.

The winger, whose last competitive outing came against Nashville in Tennessee back at the end of November, hopes that doing so will take him out of his comfort zone and improve him as a player.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Mueller ahead to the cinch Premiership fixture this evening. “It is one of the places that you dream about playing when you think of Scottish football.  

“I played in front of big crowds as well in the States. Orlando and Atalanta were rivals and there could be about 80,000 people at that game.  

“But I don’t know if the hostility and environment necessarily matches Celtic Park. I came across to play in games like this. I’m really thrilled and excited for the opportunity.”  

He added: “The history and the culture of football over here is different. I was drafted to a team in the US that was founded in 2016. So it’s not like you have that rich history and can walk through a stadium and just see the generations of players who have built the foundations of the club as well as the fan base.  

“It runs deep with the supporters. People really care about it. That’s just the reality. It’s just different from the US mainly because of the history and that deep passion for the game. That’s exactly what I wanted to ingrain myself in.

“My dream was always to play in Europe since I was a little kid. You can sign a new contract with a club in the States and make a lot more money and be content and comfortable being there.  

“But the guys who have big dreams want to challenge themselves, go to a new environment, get out of their comfort zones and see what they can accomplish. Doing the move itself speaks more about the players than anything else.”  

Asked what he hoped to achieve at Hibs, Mueller said: “Win trophies and play in European football. To lift a trophy at Hampden would be a dream come true and to play in European competition is a goal that I think isn’t far out of the reach of the club.”  

Mueller believes he is well prepared for the demands of European football thanks to playing alongside Portuguese great Nani, a former Champions League winner with Manchester United and a European Championship victor with his national team, during his time with Orlando.

“It was great to share the locker room with someone of his stature, someone who has won the biggest competitions in the world and in club football,” he said.

“He was a great mentor for me, as someone who plays in the same position. I played the opposite side from him, but we were both wingers. Even seeing how he carried himself in the locker room was good. He was a leader during tough times and always set the standards.

“He had that winning mentality and that was something to learn from. So I was lucky to share the locker room with guys like that. You learn a lot from just watching them in training and the gym afterwards and from their professionalism. That was a real pleasure for me.”

Mueller signed a pre-contract agreement with Hibs back in the summer when Jack Ross in charge at Easter Road - but he is unconcerned about Shaun Maloney taking over as manager in Leith and is enjoying working under the former Celtic and Scotland midfielder.

“I don’t think my role will change much,” he said. “I am going to continue to focus on what I can control. You never know what can happen in football.

“I am really excited to work with Shaun, I have heard amazing things about him as well.  So I’m really looking forward to what he can bring to the team. I’ve heard he was a great player and knowing he was a wide player I think he can be a big help to me.

“I was actually watching Sky Sports this week and there was an old Celtic against Rangers game on from like 2009 and he featured in it. So I got to see a bit of film work from his playing days! That was a pretty funny moment.

“So, yeah, I’m really looking forward to working with him. Our playing styles were similar. He was a bit shorter like me, crafty on the ball, had good agility and the ability to create things, take people on one v one. So I am really looking forward to working with him and seeing what I can pull into my game.”