It’s been a terrific evening for Celtic striker Patryk Klimala after he bagged a goal to help close in on a spot at Euro 2021 with Poland under-21s.
Klimala started on the bench against Latvia in this afternoon’s crunch match in which the Poles had to win in order to have any hope of qualification.
In the end, they produced a storming second-half after a goalless first. Bartosz Bialek and Jakub Piotr Kiwior had Poland 2-0 ahead before Klimala was introduced into proceedings. The Hoops striker then slotted home a third to round off the scoring for the hosts. The Latvians pulled a late goal back, but the game was over.
— Łączy nas piłka (@LaczyNasPilka) November 17, 2020
The three points ensured the Poles stayed ahead of third-placed Bulgaria, who also won this afternoon. Russia, meanwhile, won the group.
Poland would’ve originally had to have played a playoff tie to reach the Euros. However, due to the global health pandemic, UEFA instead decided to give spots to the five best runners-up. The Poles’ final total of 20 points is currently enough to take them there, but their spot will be dependent on other results over the next few hours as the rest of the groups finish off.
A reminder of what Klimala can do
There’s no denying this is big for Klimala. Whether Poland make the Euros or not, it’s a reminder to Neil Lennon of what he’s capable of when given the chance.
Make no mistake, Klimala’s football has dried up a bit over the last month or so. Since he was given opportunities to impress against Rangers and AC Milan during mid-October, he’s been starved of further game-time.
Lennon has kept Klimala on the bench in fixtures against Lille, Sparta Prague, Aberdeen (x2), and Motherwell respectively. It’s a situation that can’t be pleasing for the Poland under-21 starlet.
He’ll likely start on the bench this weekend when Celtic travel to Hibernian too. But even so, if Poland have done enough to qualify for the Euros, then that will give him a massive level of motivation ahead of the tournament.
He’s another who must feel as though he’s needing to use his international platform to prove a point to his club manager. Perhaps similar to Leigh Griffiths in that respect, as both strikers look to catch Lennon’s eye.
But it’s important Klimala takes things as one game at a time. He’s had a fine afternoon of the bench today, and hopefully he’ll have done enough to reach the Euros next year.