Vakoun Bayo thanked manager Neil Lennon for his support after claiming a double on his long-awaited first Celtic start.
The 22-year-old January signing suffered a hamstring injury not long after Lennon took over in late February and experienced a recurrence during pre-season.
The Ivory Coast international had only made three late substitute appearances before being handed his full debut in Sunday’s visit of Hearts and he repaid Lennon’s faith by playing a key role in a 3-1 victory.
Bayo was on hand to attack two crosses either side of Callum McGregor’s brilliant strike and the forward claimed a brace despite Hearts manager Craig Levein arguing both were own goals.
He later headed against the post before going off with cramp and getting a hug from Lennon on the sidelines.
Bayo, who arrived from Dunajska Streda of Slovakia, said: “I should have scored three and the manager told me that as well!
“He’s been great with me since I arrived and he speaks to me and encourages me all the time.
“I have benefited by the encouragement and it has paid off with me scoring.”
Bayo added: “It’s a great club and the fans are incredible. This was my first chance at starting and there were lots of people watching so I was amazed by that.
“It’s just part of football and the fans make it. The fans were happy and they understand I have been waiting for this.
“When I arrived I was really happy and then I suffered the injuries but the manager has been happy with me and the progress I was making but I had to be patient with it.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.