Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has praised former Celtic forward Teemu Pukki and admitted that he watched the Finnish forward while he was playing in Glasgow.

Former Brentford manager Smith takes his current employers to Carrow Road this weekend to take on Pukki’s high flying Norwich. The 29-year-old is the fourth top scorer in the English Premier League after netting six goals so far. Pukki has also nabbed two assists in Norwich’s seven games.

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And Smith is well aware of what he can do after seeing him play at Celtic.

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“I had a look at him when I was Brentford coach, in all honesty,” he told Birmingham Live.

 

“He’s a good player, he scored a lot of goals last season.

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“I’ve seen him play a number of times for Celtic as well when he was there. He certainly upped his level last season and then has started the season well this, scoring goals again.”

Pukki failed to impress in a Celtic shirt

You doubt Smith would have been too impressed when he saw Pukki play for Celtic. The striker always seemed to flatter to deceive for Neil Lennon’s side but he has since gone on to become one of the leading marksmen in the English top-flight.

It’s a stark reminder that the Scottish league isn’t quite as bad as some down south like to make out. The likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Andy Robertson and Ryan Fraser routinely light up that league and all three got their big breakthrough in Scotland.

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Pukki was a bit of a flop in the Scottish Premiership but has already hit the ground running down south. That just highlights that there isn’t quite as big as gulf as some say – on the pitch at least.

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