Preston North End goalkeeper says Celtic game was an important part of his return from injury

The stick which Declan Rudd received in the warm-up ahead of Preston North End’s friendly at Celtic was music to the goalkeeper’s ears.

Monday, 19th July 2021, 12:43 pm
Updated Monday, 19th July 2021, 12:44 pm

A few of the Celtic fans gave Rudd some ribbing as he limbered up at Celtic Park on Saturday teatime.

The fact Rudd enjoyed it was twofold, in the main because he was back playing football after an uncertain few months.

Also, he was just glad to see people back enjoying a match after football’s long lockout.

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Preston North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd during the warm-up before the pre-season friendly win against Celtic

PNE’s 1-0 win over Celtic saw Rudd play his first 90 minutes since January 2.

In between he had suffered a knee injury, the complex nature of which did briefly place some uncertainty over his playing career.

So to be pulling on the gloves and being out on the pitch for the full game was worth a little bit of stick.

Rudd said: “I quite enjoyed the abuse I got to be fair, I’ve missed it!

“I thrive off stuff like that and I think the fans were just making the most of being back in the ground to support their team after so long away.

“A bit of stick came my way in the warm-up because I was near the stand.

“I’m looking forward to more of it because it means I’m back out there involved.”

Rudd suffered the knee injury is training. He slipped and jarred his knee, the cartilage tearing and jamming into the back of his knee cap.

It was an unusual injury in its nature but a leading knee specialist was able to repair the damage.

Rudd said: “There were concerns about it, this wasn’t a straight forward injury by any means.

“It was touch and go before I went in for the operation about what could be done.

“Luckily the surgeon was unbelievable and has done a great job.

“It was a complex tear in my knee to fix. Until they opened me up and got in there, they weren’t certain about how they were going to repair it.

“The surgeon is one of the best in the business, he’d done a couple of these before but every knee is different.”

Rudd had played 45 minutes against Bamber Bridge in his comeback game before being handed the full match at Celtic.

“It was a good place to play my first 90 minutes,” said 30-year-old Rudd.

“I’d always wanted to play at Celtic Park but you don’t get the chance in domestic football, so it was a good chance to play in a friendly.

"I just wish the ground had been full because it would have been one hell of a atmosphere."

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