Scott Brown admits he was worried a solution to his ankle troubles would never be found and the Celtic midfielder has praised the expert who fixed his injury.
The Scotland international missed four months earlier in the campaign after failing to shake off an ankle problem which also plagued him last season.
Brown eventually had surgery on his ankle after a visit to Dutch specialist Niek van Dijk and now feels his fitness is better than ever.
"I was worried," said Brown. "I was sitting about doing nothing just hoping my ankle got better. But it seemed not to be working.
"At the end of last season I was getting injections, but it was gradually getting worse. I came back for pre-season and couldn't do anything. I got a wee operation that seemed not to work.
"Perhaps I could have kept playing, but not to the level I'd been at because I could not turn sharply. When I was changing direction my ankle could not take the change.
"I went back down to England and the guy kept injecting it, but that didn't seem to work.
"The specialist in Holland managed to clean it out and take out a few ligaments that you do not need. He has done all that and it has never felt better.
"At one point I did not know what the next step was. I was glad when I woke up from the operation and he said to start working right away."