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Ex-Arsenal, Tottenham youth Blackman hoping to make amends with Celtic

Celtic midfielder Andre Blackman has indicated that the penny may have finally dropped.

The former Arsenal, Tottenham and Portsmouth youth was given a second chance by Hoops boss Neil Lennon in January and after a period of uncertainty, the 21-year old now knows what he has to do to make it at the top.

Blackman could not hold down a club during his younger days mainly because of a bad attitude which temporarily ended his fledgling career in 2010 when he was discarded by AFC Wimbledon following a stint with Bristol City which followed trials with Celtic and West Ham United.

Now, however, Blackman is looking to repay the faith of Lennon who rescued him from playing five-a-side matches with his mates.

"A friend of the manager recommended me and asked if I could come up for a trial," he said.

"I was out the game for a year-and-a-half before that. I spent my time at the Jamie Lawrence Soccer School, which you pay a fee for on a daily basis.

"At one stage I couldn't even pay because I didn't have any money. I got in touch with an agent and he said he would pay it for me.

"It was a big reality check. In fairness, it was what I needed to open my eyes. There were times it was really hard but I had to show a bit of mental strength to get through it.

"I'm happier now because the whole thing has made me wiser.

"I was playing football with my friends at a local five-a-sides in London. That was it.

"There were no offers the whole time. There weren't many opportunities to go and try and play professionally."

He added: "I never thought about quitting. I always thought I would make it. I definitely appreciate this chance after everything I've been through. I was kicked out of football early on in my career.

"I wasn't nervous, I was just anxious about the trial because of everything that had happened.

"I'm just thankful Celtic have given me the chance to express myself. I know I have to grab it with both hands."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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