Celtic: Winger Scott Sinclair insists belief is key to a successful career

Scott Sinclair celebrates a goal against Rangers
Scott Sinclair has scored 25 goals in his debut season for Celtic

Celtic winger Scott Sinclair says the most important lesson he has learned in football is to always have belief in your ability.

The PFA Scotland player of the year has experienced spells on the sidelines at previous clubs and was part of the Aston Villa squad relegated from England's top flight last season.

"If I can give advice to young players it is to never give up," he said.

"People will always pull you down and say you are never good enough."

And Sinclair, who has scored 25 goals so far this term, added: "The main thing, on a personal level, is that I never gave up and I'm getting the rewards for it now.

"When you've gone through so many tough times in your career, of not playing and getting relegated, I was the one who stayed behind at training and did things at home. Looking back, it was all worth it."

Sinclair, now 28, joined Chelsea at 15 from Bristol Rovers and made a handful of appearances for the first team. In his five years contracted to the Stamford Bridge club he was loaned to Plymouth, Queens Park Rangers, Charlton, Crystal Palace, Birmingham and Wigan before signing for Swansea in August 2010.

The English winger made more than 90 appearances for the Swans ahead of a switch to Manchester City, but was on the fringes there and was again loaned out, with spells at West Brom and Aston Villa.

The pain of relegation with Villa, in his first season there after a transfer from City ahead of season 2015-16, has made the success of his debut season under Brendan Rodgers at Celtic all the more joyful.

He said: "The main thing was to come up here and enjoy my football again and get that happiness back into my life of playing week in, week out and having a manager who believes in me.

Scott Sinclair in action for Aston Villa
Sinclair endured the pain of relegation from the English Premier League with Aston Villa

"I could have stayed down in England and enjoyed my life and had it all nice and cosy. But I didn't want that, I wanted much more. I've always wanted to be giving more."

Sinclair, who described his player of the year award as "a great honour", came off the bench on Saturday as Celtic swept St Johnstone aside.

In the second half he replaced the impressive 18-year-old Michael Johnston, who has since signed a three-year deal with the treble-chasers.

"Mikey stepped up," said Sinclair of his young team-mate.

"He was fantastic, you could see his confidence. I spoke to him before the game just to say, 'play your own game', because sometimes when you play under-21 level and you come in to the first team you just want to keep it simple.

"But any young player coming into the first team wants to go out there and express himself, and that's what the gaffer brings to any young player who steps up."

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