At lunchtime today new signing, Carl Starfelt will met some of the Independent Celtic Fan Media reps at a virtual press conference. We have attended a number of these with Celtic players over the last few weeks following on from the face to face with Ange Postecoglou and Dominic McKay but to be honest there has been nothing of note to write about after previous press conferences with the exception of the one with Celtic B Team Manager, Tommy McIntyre which was the best to date when we were given more time to ask questions with the right to reply. The player pressers have been more of a PR and box ticking exercise for the PR and Media department.
Yesterday we received a press release from Celtic announcing that Carl was in the house and ready to start training with the first team and put himself into the managers thoughts for the Hearts game. Hopefully he will prove a good signing and help improve our defensive record and also help the young players who have been committed to the team since they were given their chance but I think we all know that we need more experience and muscle at the moment in that department.
He is saying all the right things but he will ultimately be judged on performances on the pitch after the false dawn of Shane Duffy last season. The 26-year-old has international experience with Sweden has been music to the Celtic Supporters ears after his transfer was announced from Rubin Kazan.
Carl Starfelt said: “It’s a true honour to be here and to come here to such a big club with such a great history, and maybe the world’s best fans so I’m very happy.
“I had to be in quarantine for a time, so obviously it was very tough to see the boys play and not to be able to train with the team and help the team, so I’m very glad to be here finally and I can’t wait to get started.
“When Celtic call, you answer and I knew right away what I wanted to do, so I’m very happy that all this has gone through.”
The defender will begin training at Lennoxtown today as Ange Postecoglou’s squad begin preparations for the trip to Tynecastle the following night.
And while it will be a case of meeting and getting to know his new team-mates in the weeks and months ahead, Starfelt has already been in communication with captain, Callum McGregor.
“He sent me a nice message and we spoke a little bit,” he explained. “Everyone I’ve been in touch with in the club so far has been very welcoming, so it’s nice that your team-mates help you get into everything.
“It will be nice to meet the team and learn how the team wants to play, to meet the coach and get into everything. I think everything will happen very quickly since there will be a game already this weekend, so I’m delighted to get going. I’ve been waiting for it for some time now.
“If the coach wants to play me (against Hearts), I will, of course, play and give 100 per cent, so that’s up to coach whether I play or not. I’ve been training the last few days and I feel ready.
“My hopes are, first of all, to get into the team, to know how the team plays and just get a good start. It’s always a little bit of adaptation when you come to a new club.
“I want that to be as smooth as possible, and then we have bigger goals – I want to be successful here, for the team to be successful, to win titles, to play in Europe – I want to do all those things. But I need to focus on the here and now, and right now it’s just to get into the group and the team.”
Carl Starfelt becomes the ninth Swedish player to play for the Hoops, and among his countrymen are some illustrious names, including Henrik Larsson, Johan Mjallby and, most recently, Mikael Lustig.
Celtic’s latest Swede is hoping that he can follow in those footsteps and enjoy similar success in the green and white Hoops.
“Celtic has a great reputation in Sweden,” Starfelt said. “Most people know the history and when you think of Scottish football, you think of Celtic. Of course, we’ve had many Swedish players who did it very well here, and played very good here and played in the national team and did very well, so the club has a very high reputation.
“I didn’t play alongside Mikael in the games, although I’ve trained beside him, but the little I’ve spoken with him, he seems to have enjoyed it here a lot at Celtic, so I hope I will get the same experience.”