GRETAR Steinsson punched the air on Saturday to signal a double comeback.

The gutsy Icelandic defender marked his return to form and first-team selection with a sensational strike to cap Wanderers’ morale-boosting victory over Liverpool.

Personally, the marauding full-back believes he has given the perfect response to those who prematurely wrote him out of the Reebok script while collectively he is convinced the Whites have answered their own critics by starting to look more like their old selves.

Steinsson, who has been with Wanderers three years, first found his position under threat when Owen Coyle signed Tyrone Mears from Burnley last summer, ostensibly to replace him.

But after Mears broke his leg in pre-season, the Icelander started the campaign as first choice – only to find himself out of favour for a couple of months, during which time he had personal problems to contend with while young local lad Joe Riley emerged as a contender. But he returned to the starting 11 for the win at Blackburn before Christmas and has kept his place during Wanderers’ best run of the season, which has reaped 10 points from five Premier League games, including just one defeat.

“You just have to take it on the chin and prove people wrong,” Steinsson said, reflecting on the challenges he has faced.

“It’s not the first time I have been written off and put to the side.

“I came back then and I will do it again. You have to keep believing in yourself and working hard.

“It’s more important to be mentally right when you go through tough times. That’s my strong point and we will have to see where it takes me.

“The cream always rises to the top. You go through good and bad times.

“But I am a tough person and a strong personality. I am not happy if I don’t play; I think I should play every game.

“That’s me and my mentality. So, I am pleased I am back in and pleased we’ve started picking up points again. I want to be part of this team to get it higher up the league.

“We are still not as good as we can be. We can dig deeper and get more quality to get where we should be.

“But since Christmas we have put in extra tempo and got points we weren’t doing earlier in the season.

“We’re looking more like the Bolton side we were last year.

“Against Liverpool, we went up against a top side that had spent a lot of money on players.”

Steinsson’s goalscoring performance – his 50th-minute volley was all the more satisfying for being played out in front of his fellow Icelander and Wanderers legend Gudni Bergsson, who was in the stands on one of his frequent Reebok visits.

Bergsson, who made 270 league appearances in an eight-year spell with Wanderers, was an inspiration to those who played alongside him and many who have followed him. In Steinsson’s eyes he is seen as something of a mentor.

“I have incredible respect for Gudni,” he said. “We talk every week and we are opinionated on everything around us.

“He is a legend, a king in this town. So, it’s fantastic I have come after him and played all these games and been a part of Bolton like he was.

“Hopefully, I can be that for years to come. But we will have to see what happens.”

Although he grew up an admirer of the legenadry Liverpool teams of the Eighties – Ian Rush posters adorned his bedroom walls – Bolton’s strong Iceland connections made Steinsson well aware of what to expect when he arrived at the Reebok from the Dutch club AZ Alkmaar in a £3.5million deal in January 2008, and he now regards himself as an adopted Boltonian.

“I am a Bolton fan through and through,” he said.

“When you have so many (fellow Iceland) players like Gudni, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Arnar Gunnlaugsson, you want to prove yourself like they did.

“I want to be remembered like they were. I am still here so I am obviously doing something right.”