Marian Shved’s Celtic career may not have truly kicked off as of yet, but he remains hopeful about what the future holds.
The Ukrainian has been one of the great mysteries of the season. After signing from Karpaty Lviv last January and coming back from a short loan spell back home in the summer, everything looked bright for Shved. He had a Ukraine cap to his name and arrived in Scotland as the third-highest scorer in his homeland.
He was given a first Celtic appearance in Nomme Kalju from the bench, and scored a fine goal as he smashed a left-footed effort into the top corner. Fast forward three months? He’s only made one further appearance in a cameo role at home to Ross County in October.
Yet Shved isn’t downbeat about his lack of game-time. Speaking in the Daily Record, the winger revealed that he’s already had talks with Neil Lennon about his situation.
“I am happy I moved to Scotland. It’s a different style of football than what I have been used to back home. I am working hard and learning so much.
“The coaches and manager of Celtic have told me if I keep working hard I will soon start to get minutes on the pitch for them, but it hasn’t happened yet.
“It was great for me to get on the pitch for Ukraine and hopefully I will get some minutes for Celtic soon too.”
Shved’s big problem is his right-sided competition
We clearly have a huge talent here in Shved. He made a positive contribution for Ukraine the other night against Estonia. Despite that, however, he wasn’t able to follow it up with an appearance against Serbia today. Shved, unfortunately, didn’t make the 23-man squad to take part in their final Euro 2020 qualification match.
When it comes to his competition at Celtic Park, however, there’s another big challenge for him – James Forrest.
Let’s face it, Forrest is one of Lenny’s golden Bhoys, and quite rightly so. Already this season, Jamesy has managed 11 goals and 12 assists in 25 games (Transfermarkt). He’s the most productive player at the club.
Forrest is Lenny’s main man
Therefore, when it comes to the big games, Forrest is always going to be Lenny’s first-choice. Unfortunately for Shved, however, Lennon is also playing Forrest in the lesser games too. As mentioned already, Forrest has played 25 times, with Celtic having played 27 matches in total this season.
In the two games Forrest hasn’t played, Shved still hasn’t started. So his first goal is to become a part of the manager’s plans, and there’s no better time to do that than during the winter months when rotation is needed most.
Celtic have 11 games between now and the mid-season break. Shved has to make sure he’s in about the first-team in stages over the coming weeks. If we come out of the break and he still only has two appearances to his name, there’s no denying it would be a concern.
But for now, he has to have his eyes on making himself the out-and-out number two to Forrest.