How I moved on after Celtic move didn't come off, reveals Trevor Carson
Motherwell goalkeeper Trevor Carson has admitted it was a "surreal" feeling to be linked with Celtic and although the big move in January never materialised, he is determined to emerge stronger from the saga.
Well manager Stephen Robinson, who feared losing his goalkeeper on transfer deadline day, knocked back bids for the 30-year-old and the man who started his career at Sunderland accepted he was going nowhere.
Speaking ahead of what should be his senior international debut against South Korea at Windsor Park on Saturday, former Hartlepool keeper Carson admitted he was left reflecting on what might have been.
"It was quite surreal for me because I've never been in that position," explained Carson. "I've been a lower-league keeper over the years where your contract's up and you go and find another club.
"To have a club like Celtic after you, you walk about a foot taller, the lads in training are talking about it. It happened so quickly. We had a game on the Wednesday, the night the window shut. You're human. I was trying to focus on the game but there's still part of you checking Google, Twitter to see what people are saying.
"I'm back now, I'm definitely in a stronger position. It didn't happen, it might be once in a lifetime, I might never get the chance again to play for a club like Celtic, who knows? Two months later I've taken all the positives out of it, it's helped boost my profile.
"Someone like Brendan Rodgers interested in you, you've got to be flattered. There are times when you can be too modest, you have to take positives. I've definitely looked at that situation and thought you must be doing something right if clubs like that are looking at you. It was great to be linked with a club like Celtic."
Carson's international team-mate Jonny Evans was also linked with January moves to Manchester City and Arsenal but the shot-stopper laughed off any comparison.
"Jonny's already on £100,000 a week!" he said. "It's different for me! Me and my missus for weeks after played a game of let's see what we could have bought, let's see where we could have gone on holiday! I haven't earned big money, I've been at lower-league clubs. That's another situation where I'm turning 30, it would have been life-changing for me and my family.
"Football's such a short career. You've got to look out for yourself and your family. Situations like that, that was another part of it for me. It was disappointing but it didn't happen. Once it was done, I got my head around it straight away and that was me moving on. I took the positives and found myself working a bit harder because it might happen again so be ready and give yourself the best chance."
But Carson's move to Motherwell from Hartlepool and his outstanding form have lifted his profile to a new level.
"It's great to be back after being out of the picture for a while," he added. "It's the main reason I went up to Scotland, to get back in Michael's mind. He said to me when I was playing in League Two that I needed to be playing at a higher standard.
"I went and did quite well. It's great to be back. It's been brilliant and has even exceeded my own expectations, getting to cup finals. When I first signed I thought it was going to be a battle against relegation, a cup run was not even in our minds.
"We've done brilliantly. I've managed to do well myself, especially against the Old Firm and in semi-finals. The limelight up there has been brilliant, it's really boosted my profile and brought me into Michael's plans. Everything's been positive."