CELTIC PARK was three-quarters empty when John Guidetti finally made his presence felt in Scottish football.

A light dusting of fans watched as the young Swede swung his left boot with all the timing and accuracy of a Rory McIlroy tee shot, picking up a wayward clearance to drive a fierce half-volley beyond Neil Alexander in the Hearts goal.

It was an eyecatching collaboration of instinct and talent deserving of a bigger audience, especially given the significance that it carried for a player whose career at the highest level of the game once dangled by a thread.

Sidelined with a virus for most of the last two years, the on-loan Manchester City striker has spent enough time in treatment rooms, gyms and training grounds longing for the moment when he could once more hear the noise of fans cheering one of his goals.

The 45,000 empty seats at Celtic Park could not silence the exhilaration Guidetti felt when that moment arrived at last on Wednesday night.

"That's what I have been missing for a long time," the Hoops frontman admitted.

"It was great to score of course, but also great to win. A fantastic feeling.

"The feeling you have when you're in the shower after a game and you've scored a goal and the team's won - that's the feeling I've missed. I missed it a lot, so it was great for me."

What Guidetti also missed was a glaring chance to open his account for the Bhoys after 14 minutes when he shrugged aside Hearts defender Alim Ozturk and advanced into the six-yard box.

Yet somehow he screwed his left-foot effort two feet wide of the goal with Jambos keeper Alexander helpless.

The 22-year-old forward then kicked a post in frustration.

But though Guidetti admits it was a chance he should have converted, it only made him more determined to net his next opportunity, which he did nine minutes later.

He explained: "Sometimes you miss the easy ones, then score the difficult one.

"With the first one, I thought I did well to create the chance but I didn't score. That is going to happen.

"Since I missed that I knew there was even more chance that I would score the next one because I don't miss many."

Describing how he fastened on to a misplaced header from Hearts captain Danny Wilson to open his account, Guidetti said: "I knew I had to hit it.

"I saw a small space and I smashed the ball and it went in the back of the net.

"It was a great feeling and an important goal. It got us going against a good side."

While Guidetti's passion for scoring goals has been the main thrust of his career, a major facet to his character has been his love for the fans in the stands.

While on loan at Feyenoord three seasons ago he became a cult hero for their supporters.

After wins he was regularly the team's last player to leave the pitch, dancing and signing with fans as they celebrated long after the final whistle.

After injury robbed him of the chance to play in the final game of the season, supporters carried him on their shoulders through the streets of Rotterdam to thank him for his part in taking Feyenoord to second spot in the Eredivisie.

And while only 14,000 or so Celtic fans were in the stadium to witness his maiden goal in the hoops, Guidetti is adamant about how much it meant to him to get off the mark in front of a home crowd that included the noisy - and controversial - Green Brigade "ultras".

"It was important to get my first goal here," he explained. "I do it for the fans. I think they make the whole thing.

"The Green Brigade weren't here in my first game against Aberdeen but they were back for the second game against Motherwell here.

"It was a massive difference. I said, 'Hey, they weren't here the first time'.

"I love the fans. I've been like that since I was small.

"For me it is great to give them something back because of the reaction I got when I was introduced here. Even when I have been taken off during a game, the reception I've had has been fantastic."

Although he is a player with exceptional talent and genuine pedigree when fit, Guidetti's modesty and appreciation of the opportunity he has is something which sets him apart from many others in the game.

After opening the scoring against Hearts in the first half, he won the home side a penalty on 56 minutes when Ozturk sent him sprawling in the box.

Most goal-hungry strikers would have been up on their feet with the ball under their arm before you could say: "Geez it."

But Guidetti is respectful of his current role in the Celtic dressing room and was content to let Kris Commons slot home the resultant spot-kick.

He said: "As long as I can help get penalties for the team, and as long as Kris slots them away, I'll be a very happy man.

"He is the penalty taker and I totally respect that. As a striker you can have a really, really good game without scoring.

"I can't focus too much on just the goals as I think you can get caught up in that."

Medals, not goals, will be the main focus for Guidetti and his team-mates this season, the big frontman insists.

"Of course, I want to score but at the end of the day what matters is winning trophies for Celtic and Celtic being on top because these fans deserve it," Guidetti proclaimed.

"That sounds like a cliché but it's true. I'm happy as long as the gaffer sees I'm doing my job.

"If we'd won 3-0 and I had not scored but had played well, I'd still have gone away happy.

"I think I link very well with Kris, Anthony Stokes, Scott Brown, everybody.

"We are gelling and will get better and better. We'll improve all the time."