“The season overall has been frustrating as I want to play as much as I can,” CCV

Cameron Carter-Vickers is our Rock of Gibraltar at the heart of defence and when he’s not there, we sure as heck miss the big fella. The American has been paramount to our success in recent years on the field, as he’s kept our opponents at bay both in domestic football and on the continent. After an initial loan spell the Spurs centre-back decided he’d had enough wandering and wanted to call somewhere home for good.

Carl Starfelt embraces teammate Cameron Carter-Vickers after the team’s victory in the Scottish Cup Semi Final match between theRangers and Celtic at Hampden Park on April 30, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Ange Postecoglou and Celtic gave him that opportunity after a successful temporary switch in 2021/22. Both he and Carl Starfelt were sold together at the backline and kept the best defensive record in the Scottish Premiership. Two League titles have been wrapped up on his watch and the USA international is definitely keen to make it a third-straight successive Scottish Premiership trophy haul with the Hoops, with a possibility for Hampden in the sun.

“We have a semi-final against Aberdeen to look forward to and I’ve been lucky to play at Hampden quite a lot. Every time you go there the atmosphere is always good. I remember the semi-final last year against Rangers when Jota scored and when we walked off at half time the whole Celtic End was signing and you could hear them in the tunnel. That’s the kind of moments you want as a player and the games you want to be in. The league and cup is clearly about results because you need to win games and win trophies.

“However, if you focus on the that too much then you can lose your day-to-day focus. When you’re playing big games at this time of the season you want to shut everything out from the outside and just focus on playing our best football. All the players in the squad play because of their love for the sport, so if we can focus on that then we can enjoy the period, which helps. If we have a clear focus on the game and that’s thinly focus then it should lead to winning games.”

Carter-Vickers hasn’t had it all his own way this year, that’s for sure, as the Essex-born US national has had to overcome persistent injuries and faced lengthy spells on the sidelines this term. It’s been a totally new experience for Cam and by his own admission, it’s been tough to watch on from the stands as his teammates do battle.

He told the Celtic View: “It does feel different as the closer you get to the end of the season the games feel like they matter more. Even though there is more on the games, we players try and keep things as simple as we can and focus on the stuff we can control and do it the best we can.

“The goal is to continue to improve, so naturally you should be at your best at the end of the season. Even when you’re at this point you’re still looking to try and improve. This season for me, I have had a lot of injuries so it’s been hard to focus on improving when the focus has been on getting fit and playing. For the squad as a whole, the aim is to be at this point of the season playing our best.

“The season overall has been frustrating as I want to play as much as I can to help the team. Not being able to to do that has been frustrating. The injury itself has been a reoccurring hamstring issue which can be down to a lot of things, but I think we have found out why that is. I’ve been working a lot in the gym with certain treatments to try and correct the problem, so fingers crossed it’s all okay.

“At the end of last season, I had my operation after the semi-final and I was on the pitch for the Trophy Day and cup final. I didn’t mind it because last year I knew I contributed throughout the season to get to that point, so that was enough for me. This season, the hope is to play in every game and hopefully a final. I want to help the team be as successful as we can so that is always the aim.”

He also reserved special praise for his defensive partner Liam Scales, who has had his critics this season, yet has stood up to the challenges that come his way without complaint. “Liam has done really well. He has played pretty much every game this season, which I’m sure if you asked him at the start of the season then he might not have believed to be true. He was always one of Aberdeen’s better players last season and when he came back from pre-season he was straight into the team and playing well. You can see he has taken that pressure on and has remained ever-present.

He added: “As a centre back partner, it doesn’t affect me if they are right or left-footed. It’s more about learning how your partner like to defend certain situations and what their tendencies are in defensive situations. Once you learn that then you can adapt your game to form the best partnership you can.

 Cameron Carter-Vickers reacts after he scores his team’s opening goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Dundee at Celtic Park on February 28, 2024. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“Anytime you change the person you play with, you take a few game s to learn and adjust from that. The more you play with someone the more you build that connection. Our game-time has been a bit there and there with my injuries, but I’m hopeful we can continue to build that connection with more games.”

Paul Gillespie

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About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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