Carl Starfelt expresses delight at first Celtic goal as he opens up on emotional release of celebration
Celtic defender Carl Starfelt has expressed his delight at making his return from injury in the 5-0 win over Kilmarnock on Sunday.
The 27-year-old played a key role in the Hoops’ success last season, creating a strong partnership in defence alongside Cameron Carter-Vickers.
Starfelt would have been looking to build upon a positive first 12 months. However, his campaign got off to a disappointing start after sustaining a hamstring injury in June.
Despite missing the Bhoys entire pre-season preparations, Starfelt was able to make a swift return, being named amongst the substitutes for last weekend’s trip to Ross County.
And the defender marked his full return, being handed minutes off the bench on Sunday, replacing Moritz Jenz in the 55th minute, who had picked up a knock of his own.
Speaking after the game, Starfelt expressed his delight at finally getting back to playing competitive football after sustaining his injury at a frustrating point in the year.
He said [Celtic FC]: “It is always frustrating in one way, and when I got the knock, I knew I would be out for a while you work towards a goal, and that goal is to be back out on the pitch. I am really happy that I got some minutes today, and hopefully, we will go from there.”
Not only was it a good afternoon for Starfelt due to making his long-awaited return, but he also scored his first goal for the club since joining from Rubin Kazan.
Starfelt praised the ‘unbelievable’ Celtic support and revealed the reasoning behind his slightly bizarre celebration, releasing his emotions at getting on the scoresheet.
He said: “It was a fun moment to score my first goal for the club. It was fun to be back on the pitch, as it has been a while now since I’ve been out with an injury, and it is always tough not to be able to play. I am delighted to get my first minutes back, and to get a goal was a bonus as well. If you saw my celebration, it was a release as well. It was nice.
“The fans were unbelievable as always, and they help us a lot in the games. It was a really good game today. 5-0 on an away pitch against tough opposition, we are very, very happy.”
Starfelt’s goal marked the third strike scored by a defender after just three games this season, with Stephen Welsh and Mortiz Jenz also getting off and running for the campaign.
The Swedish internationalist now finds himself in a fight to earn his place back in the side, thanks to a strong start by his teammates. However, that is a task he relishes and insisted that all the central defenders help push one another to get better.
“It is good, and this year we have competition all over the pitch. We have had some very good performances in the back line, but I think it is good, and it helps us push each other, and now we are also scoring goals.
“We all need to show in the training week that we want to play, and I think that is how the manager wants it. It will push us to become even better.”
Celtic’s defensive options continue to get stronger as Starfelt marks full return.
It was a great afternoon for the defender, scoring his long-awaited first goal and giving the squad a boost by getting back to competitive action.
It also provided Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou with a further boost to his options in the defensive area, with all four of his first-team centre-backs now vying for a place in the starting 11.
As Starfelt mentions, this can only be a good thing for the Celtic dressing room, with quality players pushing each other for a place in the side and helping each other improve each day at the training ground.
The 56-year-old certainly has a tough decision on his hands as to who will be the best-suited option to start in the back four. But I am sure it will be a decision he is loving to make after previous defensive troubles at the early stages of his Parkhead tenure.