Carl Starfelt is now finally getting the recognition his Celtic start deserves

By David Walton

December 3, 2021

Celtic centre-back Carl Starfelt had a shaky first few games at Parkhead, but some long-overdue recognition is finally coming his way.

Indeed, Starfelt cost Celtic as much as £4m to lure from Rubin Kazan in the summer [The Herald]. Due to the price-tag, many expected an instant impact. It also didn’t help that he was the direct replacement for the outstanding Kristoffer Ajer. He had huge footsteps to follow in despite being a totally different type of player.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Starfelt misplaced some passes and lost his concentration at times at the start of the season. As the Swedish international tried to get to grips with Scottish football after a period in Russia, it felt he was being given no time to adapt. The media were constantly at critiquing him whilst there was some premature fan anger with him too.

Yet the truth is those performances didn’t last very long. In fact, Starfelt has been absolutely bossing things for Celtic stretching back to the Glasgow Derby match at Ibrox in August. He was phenomenal in that one and has barely put a foot wrong since.

Last night, he finally appeared to have many sitting up and taking notice of his form. He absolutely strolled it against Hearts in his first game in over a month. The big Swede didn’t give Josh Ginnelly or Liam Boyce a sniff, and made a host of blocks throughout the game.

Carl Starfelt praise is long-overdue as Celtic man roars back to fitness

In fact, stat experts WhoScored clocked him as making 5 clearances in total and had the most touches of the ball out of anyone on the pitch with 117. Not to mention he played 104 passes with an accuracy percentage of 91.4.

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That’s superb stuff and shows just how he’s come on with his usage of the ball. Starfelt is showing all the signs of being a more than competent centre-back. And that’s great to see considering the player he’s replacing to begin with.

You couldn’t not feel delighted for him when he held up his man-of-the-match award on Sky last night. He’s had it rough and it’s clear he’s not been getting the praise he’s deserved for several months.

His injury was perhaps the opportunity for many to see just what he brings to the Celtic team. After all, it’s certainly more noticeable when Starfelt isn’t playing. That’s probably the best compliment you could give him at the moment.

And below, we take a look at some of the reaction from the supporters to his stunning display last night:

In other news, The number of Celtic fans that will still be in attendance at Tannadice