Jean-Joel Perrier-Doumbe is hoping to boost Celtic’s ailing campaign by making his comeback from injury before the end of the season.
The Hoops defender has spent the last six months on the sidelines after rupturing his Achilles during a Champions League game against AC Milan back in October.
Since then the Scottish champions have crashed out of Europe and both domestic cups and face a battle to defend their title after falling six points behind Rangers in the SPL.
Recent weeks have been kinder to Doumbe, who finally returned to action in a reserves match against Gretna last week and has now vowed to play first-team football again this season.
“I am probably looking at reserve football at the moment and these games will be important for me to try to get my fitness back to 100%,” he said.
“They will also give me a chance to impress the manager because I know that he watches all of the reserve matches.
“I want to be back playing in the first team before the end of the season. That has to be the aim for me.
“I signed a new contract while I was out injured, which will guarantee that I am here at least until the end of next season.
“That was very good news for me because, if I had not been able to come back from my injury before the end of this season, I would have been out of contract without a club and still injured.
“So I am delighted.”
Celtic’s hopes of a third consecutive championship were dealt a blow last Saturday when they suffered a 1-0 defeat by Rangers, allowing their rivals to open up a six-point gap with a game in hand.
But Walter Smith’s men face two further meetings with Celtic – both at Parkhead - and Doumbe insists the title race will witness a few more twists and turns before the prizes are handed out.
He said: “I have obviously been watching the title race while I have been out injured and it has been much closer this year.
“Rangers have had a good season and have done well in Europe as well as domestically.
“We have a difficult job, everyone understands that, but I still feel there is everything to play for between now and the end of the season.”
Doumbe was the surprise hero in last season’s Scottish Cup final triumph over Dunfermline, securing a domestic double for Gordon Strachan’s men.
And he told the Celtic View: “Unfortunately, because we are out of the Scottish Cup, there will be no more goalscoring from me in that particular competition.
“But I really want to get back in the team and, who knows, maybe I will get a goal that will help us win the league.”