Out of the picture at Tottenham, Celtic gave Ramon Vega’s career a new lease of life.

It is why he has taken particular interest in Cameron Carter-Vickers, who has trod the same path from North London to Glasgow. But while the Swiss former centre-back joined Martin O’Neill’s Treble winners at the tail end of his career, he suspects the best may be yet to come for the man currently shoring up the backline at Celtic Park.

“I think he’s brilliant,” said Vega. “He’s done really well at Celtic and the most important thing for him is the fact he is clearly enjoying it and that’s the most important thing.

“It’s a bit like when I came in from Spurs as well. I’d had some injuries but going to Celtic was great for my career.

“We managed to win the Treble under Martin O’Neill and it looks like Cameron is well on the way to doing the same.

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“He was obviously a big part of the team that won two trophies last season and he’s progressed again this year. I have no doubt he can continue developing and it will be no surprise if top teams start to look at him.”

Vega studied for a banking degree during his playing career, so it’s no surprise he knows a shrewd investment when he sees one. Celtic’s transfer policy has turned aggressive under Ange Postecoglou, recruiting with efficiency and moving players on without sentiment when the time is right.

The fundamentals remain the same, however: uncovering gems with a view to making a profit – after winning several trophies – somewhere down the line. This is the way of the world for clubs outside football’s ultra-rich elite bubble, but Vega believes Celtic are doing it better than most.

“Cameron is another example of the great recruitment at the club,” he said. “That’s what they need to do. We all know Celtic are a huge club, with a massive fan base, one of the biggest in the world.

“But they don’t have the luxury of being handed hundreds of millions of pounds every year, like they do in England. It means they have to work in a different way. The need to find some rough diamonds or maybe dig up some gold.

“They need to polish them up and then sell them for big money. That’s the way it has to be done if they are to generate the kind of money needed to reinvest in the side and compete in the Champions League.

“But the trick is to balance that with success. It’s not easy to keep building, keep winning and keep selling. That’s what Celtic has managed to do in the last few years and it’s a model that is working very well for them.

“All of the clubs in the so-called smaller leagues are trying to do the same, whether it’s Switzerland or Portugal or wherever. The Premier League is so strong with so much money, the idea is to find and develop players and then sell them to England or La Liga.

“Even top teams across the continent are having to do this.”

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Alistair Johnston, recruited from Montreal in January, is the latest to catch Vega’s eye. The Canada international has hit the ground running in Scotland, ensuring the departure of Josip Juranovic barely caused a ripple. There are plenty of options to choose from, but Vega has an inkling that Johnston will be the one to watch over the next few years.

“You look at Celtic just now and they have a lot of players who could potentially make them a lot of money,” he said. “Carter-Vickers is one of many. I even look at the likes of Alistair Johnston.

“He only signed in January but you can already see he is one who could be another big asset for the club. He had a great World Cup and he has settled in Scotland very quickly and his performances have been really encouraging.

“Johnston is very much one to watch in the next couple of years. Of course you look at the attacking players, who have done so well. There is a group of them who will be worth a lot of money to Celtic – but they are also very valuable to the team just now.

“The manager will not be in any rush to sell them but you can see he does not get too concerned about the prospect of anyone going. That is because his recruitment has been so good. He is confident he can replace any players that leave and still keep building teams that can win trophies.”

Vega was speaking at Saturday’s charity legends match between Celtic and Liverpool, where he made a late came in a 2-0 defeat at Anfield. Organised to raise money for the LFC Foundation, pulling on the green and white jersey brought memories flooding back for the 51-year-old.

“When Celtic call you always answer the phone,” he insisted. “It was nice to get the shirt back on again and it brought back happy memories. The fans are among the best in the world and it was a fantastic day.”