Daniel Arzani nets for Celtic in closed-doors friendly vs Middlesbrough

By David Walton

February 12, 2020

Rarely-seen Celtic outcast Daniel Arzani managed to score a timely goal in yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough.

The closed-door friendly saw a Celtic reserve side come up against a Middlesbrough XI mixed with both under-23s and first-team talent (Daily Record).

Arzani gave Celtic the lead before a Tyrone O’Neill penalty leveled things up. Middlesbrough also had another penalty to go in front but ended up missing it.

Celtic attacker Daniel Arzani (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

The goal will hopefully be a springboard for Arzani to kick on after a slow return from injury. Despite being back from a long-term ACL tear since the winter break, the Aussie has only made one substitute appearance against Partick Thistle in the Scottish Cup.

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Worryingly, the winger wasn’t anywhere to be seen in our 3-0 Scottish Cup win against Clyde either. Despite Neil Lennon making six changes, Arzani didn’t even manage to make the bench, showing just how unfavoured he is at the club these days.

Goal needs to be a defining moment for Arzani

There is no denying that this loan move has been a extremely disappointing. Arzani, of course, is here temporarily from Manchester City. However, he’s only made two appearances and one start since arriving in the summer of 2018.

Australian outlet The World Game actually reported back in November that Celtic were looking to extend Arzani’s stay at Parkhead further. Yet his lack of game time makes that notion seem a tad bizarre.

Much of Arzani’s problems at Celtic have come because he hasn’t been fit to play. Now he is, yet still can’t seem to get much of a look-in to Neil Lennon’s squad.

Celtic winger Daniel Arzani (Sebnem Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

It also remains to be seen whether he can fit into Lennon’s new 3-5-2 formation. There are even question marks over where the new set-up leaves the impressive Mohamed Elyounoussi. It’ll be a mighty challenge for Arzani to leap ahead of him in the pecking order.

But his goal yesterday couldn’t have come at a better time. With Elyounoussi back and looking to make an impact, Arzani’s strike is a reminder to everyone that he’s still there and ready to be selected.

Will it prove to be a springboard for him? All we can do is hope.