Celtic and Serie A transfer temptation for ex-Hearts defender Aaron Hickey
And the 18-year-old full-back admits he was considering the switch to Parkhead before choosing to head to Italy and sign for Bologna.
After 12 appearances this season the former Hearts and Celtic trained youngster says he wouldn’t rule out a move back to his boyhood favourites in future, despite turning them down before his Serie A switch.
"Celtic came in a lot and I was excited and happy about it. I'm a Celtic supporter and it was massive for me, but I just didn't think it was the right time to go there, I wouldn't ever rule it out down the line, who knows," he said in The Herald.
Hickey had been on the books with Celtic as a youngster before making the grade at Hearts and broke into Craig Levein’s first-team with such a flourish it alerted European big guns including Manchester City, Lyon and Bayern Munich.
He visited the AllianZ Arena before electing to try Italian football and sealed a transfer believed to amount to £1.8m last September. Celtic also received a sell-on percentage for their role in his development.
After settling in, he had been a regular feature for The Felsinei since the turn of the year as Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side sit mid-table in the top flight ahead of a trip to AS Roma next weekend.
However the teenager will miss out after picking up a shoulder injury in training and it could end his season prematurely – and also hit his hopes of a late call-up to Steve Clarke’s European Championship squad.
Competition is fierce at the left-back position though and Hickey has yet to earn a senior Scotland cap after his rapid rise. His only international recognition has come with the under-17s squad in 2019 and a first under-21s call-up last November.
He added: "At some point I'll have to get surgery and I think it's two-and-a-half months out after that. I don't really want to miss pre-season so hopefully I don't have to get it any time soon."