Aleksandar Tonev will aim to follow the example of fellow Bulgarian Stiliyan Petrov by becoming a Celtic hero after sealing a loan move to Parkhead. The Aston Villa player will spend the season with the Scottish champions, who announced on Monday the deal includes an option to buy the 24-year-old next summer.
Midfielder Petrov spent seven years with Celtic before taking the opposite path to Tonev, by moving south of the border to join Villa. As Tonev prepares for his big chance in the green and white hoops, the winger said: "Joining Celtic is unbelievable, and I feel really good about it. I'm delighted to have joined the club and I can't wait to meet up with my new team-mates and start playing for Celtic."
He added on Celtic's website: "I already knew all about Celtic. Everybody in Bulgaria knows Celtic. I spoke to Stiliyan Petrov yesterday and he was very happy for me. He wished me good luck and I hope I can do as well for Celtic as Stiliyan did."
Tonev has won 15 caps for Bulgaria and Villa hoped he could be an English Premier League threat when Paul Lambert signed him from Lech Poznan in June 2013. Petrov, who was on the Villa coaching staff at the time after an earlier battle with leukaemia, predicted his countryman could make a substantial impact, but the reality was that Tonev struggled to make an impression in the English top flight.
The move to Scotland could open the door to UEFA Champions League football, with Celtic having been handed a dramatic reprieve and a shot at Slovenian side Maribor in a play-off to reach the group stages.
"He has scored a lot of goals during his time at Lech Poznan and I think he can help bring the club forward with his qualities. We can also make him better."