COMEBACK king Jack Iredale has told how he’s eager to make up for lost time after recovering from injury.

The 21-year-old Ton left full-back picked up a groin problem during his side’s 1-1 draw with Queen of the South at Palmerston last month.

As a result, the talented defender missed Ton’s next three matches — the wins over Dumbarton and Inverness Caley Thistle away — before last Tuesday’s slender defeat to Livingston.

But the Greenock-born youngster ended his injury frustration on Saturday when he made a cup tie cameo appearance at Celtic Park, coming on for the final few minutes for Frank Ross.

Now Iredale aims to play his part for the final quarter of the season and ensure Ton nab one of the promotion play-off spots.

He told Tele Sport: “There was a slight tear in my groin and we thought it was going to be much worse than it actually turned out to be, so I managed to do all the right things and I’m glad that I was able to get back much quicker.

“The physio told me that it was a tear and it might take a month [to recover] but I’ve always been able to recover quite quickly from muscle injuries, I’m not sure why.

“Fitness-wise, I’ve not missed too much and when I couldn’t do all the hard running, I was doing other things like being in the pool, or on the bike, or in the gym.

“But I was doing all the right things and I feel good, I feel strong.”

Iredale was in dreamland at the weekend as his Celtic-supporting family watched him come on in the latter stages against the treble-chasers.

And he insists that the experience of playing on such a stage will only inspire him to become an even better footballer in the future.

He said: “You dream of playing at places like Celtic Park, and especially with my whole family being Celtic fans. My mum, dad, uncle and a few cousins were at the game watching.

“And obviously it was nice to get back playing again and to get a runout at Celtic Park was something special.

“I thought the boys were outstanding, especially in the first half. Celtic had to come out in the second half and changed the way they went about things because we made it very difficult for them.

“And we held out strong for an hour but with the quality of Celtic’s players, you can’t let them have too many opportunities otherwise they’ll punish you - and that’s what they did.

“But it’s nice to match yourself up against the best team in the country and obviously they’re the benchmark and, as individuals, we’ve got a long way to go, but it’s a great experience and one in which you can mark yourself against.
“It’s about working hard and trying to get to that level one day.”

Iredale has already turned his thoughts to this weekend’s trip to Falkirk, where he hopes Ton can get back to winning ways.

He added: “We go into any game wanting to win it and I think we’ve got the potential to do so again.”