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ACE CHARLIE IS A PROPER HOOPS HERO; MULGREW PLAYER GONG.

Byline: LISA GRAY

WHEN Charlie Mulgrew became Neil Lennon's first Celtic signing on a free transfer from Aberdeen, some Hoops fans raised an eyebrow or two.

The former Celtic youngster had failed to make the breakthrough to the Bhoys' first team and was shipped down to Wolves by Gordon Strachan as a makeweight in the deal to bring Lee Naylor to Parkhead.

A frustrating spell at Molineaux followed, paving the way for a move back north again with Aberdeen where the utilityman's displays were typically erratic rather than outstanding.

But as he celebrated his 26th birthday yesterday with an SPL Player of the Month gong to his name - on the back of earning his first Scotland cap during the week -Mulgrew affirmed he always had the belief in his ability to make it to the very top.

He said: "Leaving Celtic was hard. I was happy to go to Wolves but I suffered a couple of injuries.

"I was out for 10 weeks after injuring an ankle and then I was out for another 10 weeks with another injury and those were low moments.

"I had the right selfbelief as well as the right family and friends who had belief in me. So far everything is going well.

"There are obviously times when you doubt yourself and that's when the strength of character comes in.

"You need to keep working hard and have that bit of belief and thankfully I've done that."

Mulgrew added: "I have always had belief in my ability.

"When I left Celtic the first time I never thought I would be back. I knew I had to make a career for myself and it so happens I'm now back at Celtic.

"I'm delighted to get that opportunity and I'm enjoying it.

"You don't sign here thinking you'd be a squad player as that would be the wrong attitude.

"You always want to play so I tried to force my way in and I've managed to do that.

"Thankfully things are going okay."

CAPTION(S):

SHREWD SIGNING Charlie Mulgrew is the SPL Player of the Month
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 7, 2012
Words:349
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