Teemu Pukki believes he would be a success at Celtic these days
Former Celtic striker Teemu Pukki believes he would be a much better player for the Hoops if he was playing here now.
The Finnish international spent a year at Parkhead in which he scored just nine goals in 38 appearances. But it wasn’t just Pukki’s poor goal return that was the problem either.
He wasn’t cut out for the physical aspect of Scottish football. Too often he was bullied around by the tough-tackling centre-backs in Scotland, and you could see it was a big struggle for him. He eventually left for Brondby, and our association with the Finn was over.
Now, he’s flying as a Premier League footballer. Pukki is gearing up for life in England’s top division after firing Norwich to the Championship title last season. And speaking in the Telegraph, he believes things would be different if he was a Celtic player nowadays.
“It didn’t go as I planned, and they expected me to score a lot more goals.
“If I was there now I would definitely do better. The last four years have changed me a lot as a football player. The Celtic experience helped me to get where I am now.
“The success here (at Norwich) is down to the fact we’re a family. There are no egos, everybody gets on and it’s the best dressing room I’ve ever played in. We are so close and it’s nice to be part of.”
Teemu Pukki’s Celtic stats are a far cry from his Norwich spell
Pukki is a different animal these days. The former Hoops and Helsinki striker is very much a Premier League forward. Last season the Finn bagged a stunning 30 goals in 46 outings. He’s very much earned his place at England’s top table.
But his words about being a success at Parkhead and how things would go better now could still raise a few eyebrows. There’s no denying his confidence is flying down at Norwich, but there are different expectation levels there.
Who’s to say that a big reason of Pukki’s downfall at Celtic wasn’t down to the pressure? It’s a cut-throat environment in Scottish football. Going into a poor slump of form can be difficult to get out of. The scrutiny can be intense, and every move by every player is analysed.
Pukki had his chances at Celtic and failed to take them. He lacked real personality and enthusiasm on the park, with many of his performances for Celtic totally lifeless.
If he was at Parkhead now it would be an interesting experiment. His upturn in fortunes has been a fascinating sight – particularly when you consider just how poor he was in Glasgow.
But Pukki won’t have to deal with the level of pressure he had at Celtic so long as he’s with the Canaries. It’s a different kettle of fish up here, and a challenge that proved too great for the striker. Would he be a success nowadays? There’s absolutely no guarantee of that whatsoever.