Everything that Celtic defender Stephen Welsh said to the media after his side's 1-1 draw with Ayr United at Somerset Park...

How did you find tonight's game?

Football fitness was the most important thing for us. It’s 45 minutes in the legs, and that’s us a week in training now, so to get a game under your belt is positive. There’s obviously stuff we need to work on, but I’m sure we’ll get going in the next few weeks.

How big an opportunity is pre-season for you?

Yeah, it’s a big opportunity for everyone to get fit and to show that you can play in the team. The gaffer mentioned the young lads coming up, it’s about personality, it’s about wanting to take the ball. I know exactly how that feels as a young lad coming up and playing with the first team. It can be very daunting, even in a pre-season game. So, I think we’ve got a lot to improve on, and here’s no better chance than to play another game, which is only a few days away, so we’re looking forward to that.

Big adjustment with Joe Hart being away?

I think it’s no secret that Harty was a massive influence on the changing room over the last three years. I don’t think it’s been mentioned enough how good he was for us. He was very underrated. But look, we’re into a new season now. We know we’ve got a great squad, we’ve come off the back of a very successful season, and we’ve got winners in the team. We’re very much looking forward to the season ahead.

You wore the captain’s armband tonight. How did that feel?

As a young fan, that is the dream. Even in a pre-season friendly, there is no better feeling than that. I just went out and enjoyed it.  As I said, it’s the first game of pre-season, so it’s about fitness for us and we’re just looking forward to the coming games.

Sign of faith from the manager though?

Exactly. That’s all you can ask for from the gaffer, if he trusts you then you trust yourself on the pitch.I was obviously delighted, but I think it’s about looking ahead to the next games for us and we’re looking forward to that.

People always ask if it’s a big season for you, but does it really feel like that this time around?

I think every player at Celtic gets asked if it is a big season for them. Every game is a big game for us, every training session is a big training session for us, we look at it each day. We’re not thinking about Queen’s Park yet, we’re thinking about training tomorrow, that’s the mentality that this group has got. It doesn’t matter who we are playing or when we’re playing, it’s just about the next session. We build up to that and then when the game comes, we give it 100 per cent.

Personally though?

Personally as well, aye. All I can do is go in, work hard and show what I can do, and hopefully by the time the season comes I’ll be in a good position.

Other fringe guys like James Forrest coming in and making an impact an example to you?

Jamesy was absolutely outstanding for us last season. I think it was very difficult for him, he’s a player who wants to play every game, as we all do. The way he finished the season was incredible, and I think I can take a lot from that. He’s an experienced player and maybe one or two things didn’t go his way, but then he goes and finishes the season like that, so I think that’s something that all the young lads can look up to.

The club keeps signing wingers, but he keeps coming back?

I think the older he gets, the better he’s getting. He’s been an excellent player for us, and I’m sure he will show us that this season as well.

Is it an example to you, even if centre-halfs come in, you just need to keep fighting?

I think with this club, we’re always striving to improve and trying to get better, we’re never standing still. The more competition for places in the team, the better, because it pushes everyone else on. It doesn’t matter whereabouts, any position on the pitch, if we have quality in it then it makes us a better team.

Have you got any personal targets for next season?

No, as I said, I take each game as it comes, as do the rest of the team. We’re just looking to get the fitness in now, and by the time the season comes, we’ll be ready to go.

Are you confident the quality signings will come?

I think that’s probably a bit higher up than me, so I don’t think I can completely comment on that, but as I said, we’re never a club that stands still.