Craig Bryson took a calculated gamble to be part of St Johnstone’s European adventure.
It didn’t pay off and the subsequent pain of missing out on four glamour end-of-summer Europa League and Conference League occasions was acute.
But making his comeback at Celtic Park has book-ended a frustrating spell of the veteran midfielder’s career.
And now he wants to help the Perth club build the sort of momentum that took them to glory last season.
“On a personal note it was really good for me to get back on a pitch for 90 minutes,” said Bryson in the wake of Saints’ 2-0 defeat to Celtic.
“My last competitive game was the Scottish Cup final, which was over five months ago.
“It’s been difficult.
“We did so much last season and it got us into that position where we were involved in Europe.
“I went up for a header in pre-season against Fleetwood and tore my medial knee ligament.
“That was in the 44th minute and I knew I was coming off after the 45th.
“You end up thinking: ‘Is this not meant to be?’
“We made a wee bit of a decision to kind of rush it and try to get back on to the training pitch.
“Looking back it was far too soon.
“I re-injured it and that put me out for a bit longer.”
Bryson added: “We all felt it was worth the risk. I wanted to take that risk as well to help the team.
“I’d be able to help the team with my experience and you never know if you’re going to get another chance to play in Europe.
“For myself, I was gutted to be sitting in the house watching the lads play against Galatasaray. It was depressing.
“And then it was so frustrating to see the lads go out against LASK.
“I tried to stay positive when I was around the training ground but you’re gutted inside to not be part of it.”
The errors that led to Celtic’s two goals might not have been as calamitous as the ones against Livingston the previous weekend.
But they were mistakes all the same, according to Bryson.
“We had a good shape and Celtic didn’t cause us many problems in the first half,” said the former Derby County man.
“They had a lot of possession but they didn’t get through us and Zander (Clark) hardly had a save to make.
“We made a mistake for the first goal – misjudging it – and after that it’s a different game.
Giorgos Giakoumakis scored his first Celtic goal to inspire Ange Postecoglou's side to a 2-0 victory over St Johnstone, which sees them move to within a point of top spot in the Scottish Premiership.
Highlights 👇 pic.twitter.com/EAUtgMmeIl
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) October 23, 2021
“The second goal was another sloppy one.
“For the last two games the goals we’ve conceded haven’t been good enough from our point of view.
“We’re being punished for those sloppy mistakes at the moment.
“Last season was built on being tough to play against.
“It’s been a bit disjointed so far, with players leaving and coming in and a few of us being injured.
“It does take time but you have to keep picking up results as you progress.”
Recalling the situation on his arrival from Aberdeen gives Bryson optimism ahead of Saints’ midweek clash with Hearts and beyond.
“Last season when I joined the club we were near the bottom of the league, or actually bottom,” he said.
“We went on to win two trophies and finish fifth so there will be no panic here.
“But it’s all about winning and we need to get another three points as soon as possible.
“Hearts have started the season really well so we know we’re in for a tough game but when we’re on it, we’re a match for anybody in this league.”