Scottish giants offer Canberra star a crack at the big time
Tomas Rogic will train with Scottish giants Celtic. Photo: Brendan Esposito
Canberra wunderkind Tomas Rogic will showcase his immense talent to the European club that launched Mark Viduka's career.
Rogic will aim to learn as much as he can from Glasgow Celtic when the Central Coast Mariners attacking midfielder flies out on Thursday to join the Scottish powerhouse's mid-season training camp in Spain.
The Mariners received the invitation from Celtic on Monday and allowed him to train with the club as it prepares for its UEFA Champions League knockout fixtures against Italian giant Juventus.
Mark Viduka is a Celtic legend. Photo: Reuters
Rogic - who is serving a three-match ban - will train under the Celtic manager Neil Lennon before returning on January 17, two days before his next eligible A-League game against Newcastle Jets.
The Mariners received an inquiry from Celtic last week but are yet to receive a firm offer to sign Rogic.
The January transfer window will be the last opportunity for the Mariners to cash in on the recently capped Socceroos star before he will be able to leave for free at the end of the season.
While Viduka started his overseas journey at Croatia Zagreb, it was the former Socceroos striker's move to Celtic which thrust him into the spotlight.
Viduka fired home 37 goals in just 30 appearances for Celtic between 1998-2000, leading to a switch to the English Premier League with Leeds United. The former Australian skipper went on to play for Middlesbrough and Newcastle.
Celtic is the second-most successful club in the history of Scottish football, winning 43 league titles, 35 Scottish Cups and the Scottish League Cup 14 times.
With arch-rivals Rangers demoted to the lowest tier, the Hoops are dominating the Scottish Premier League and are preparing to face Juventus in the knockout stage of the Champions League in February.
Rogic has become one of the hottest properties in the A-League after making a stunning emergence with the Mariners last season.
The Tuggeranong junior was playing in the ACT Premier League when he won one of eight worldwide spots in the Nike Chance competition in 2010.
That led to interest from English Premier League club Reading, but he was unable to secure a work permit.
Reading had a second crack at Rogic and were hoping to secure his services as early as this month's transfer window, only for the youngster to reportedly have second thoughts about diving headfirst into a battle to avoid relegation.
Rogic has been a crucial cog in the Mariners' charge this campaign as the reigning minor premiers look to make amends for failing to qualify for last season's grand final. Mariners general manager of football Lawrie McKinna said the chance for Rogic to train with a club of Celtic's magnitude was one too good to pass up.
''This is a great opportunity for Tom to train with Celtic's first team squad,'' McKinna said.
''Celtic are in their mid-season break and are busy preparing for their Champions League matches against Juventus in February, so Tom will undoubtedly learn a lot from the experience.''