Dedryck Boyata explains the real reason behind Celtic departure

Belgium international Dedryck Boyata has said that he did not go on strike to force through an exit from Celtic last summer. The centre-back spent four years with the Scottish champions but he left them on a free transfer at the end of last season after opting against signing a new contract with the club.

Boyata has since signed for Hertha in the Bundesliga and he has now clarified that he wanted a fresh challenge away from the Hoops. Speaking to Record Sport, he told: “It’s not true, I was accused of strikes last summer so I could move. I also played through the season, was in the Scottish team of the year and played my part in the title. The truth is, I’ve won everything at Celtic in four years. But it was time to start something new.”

The former Manchester City graduate revived his career during the four-year spell with Celtic and that contributed towards his selection with Belgium for the Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup. The move to the Bundesliga should only encourage his prospects of commanding gametime with the national team ahead of the European Championship next year.

Meanwhile, with the departure of Boyata and Filip Benkovic, Celtic have to rely on a new central defensive pair of Christopher Jullien and Nir Bitton. The duo have impressed during the opening phase of the campaign where the Hoops have registered the perfect tally of 12 points from four games.

That has included an Old Firm derby triumph over Rangers and they look good value to secure a ninth-straight league title, unless Steven Gerrard’s team are capable of beating them during the head-to-head encounters this season. Celtic return from the international break with an away game at Hamilton and they will be expected to come up with a comfortable win.