"They are very good"; Norwich midfielder talks up Celtic quality

By Dave Flanigan

July 24, 2022

Former Aberdeen midfielder Kenny McLean has suggested that Celtic wouldn’t struggle in the Premier League following Norwich’s 2-0 pre-season defeat in Paradise yesterday.

The Scotland international made the move south in 2018 and has played in the Premier League across two promotions and subsequent relegations with the Canaries.

As reported by Eastern Daily Press, he said: “We’re in a good place fitness wise but still have a few small details to work on but it was a great game today – the perfect game a week before the season against a very good team. It was a great test.”

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

When asked about Celtic’s suitability in England, McLean said: “It’s a question I get asked a lot about the Old Firm. I think they are at a Premier League level, to be honest.  

“You can see the way they play, the way they set up, their style with and against the ball, they are very good. I think they’re a very good team, the same as Rangers.” 

“Coming to these venues, it’s seemed more than a pre-season game today and we needed that. The atmosphere was great, there were a few tackles and there was a lot to play for.  

“The season starts in a week and it’s the same for them. People are playing for places, for a place in the squad and numerous other things. You’re trying to find your form and your fitness. You are playing for your place in the team.  

“That is why that game was so good for both teams and why there was plenty of intensity in that game for both teams.” 

Another competitive friendly

Despite a lot of the emphasis in pre-season being about gaining fitness rather than truly competitive football, Celtic’s block of friendlies on this occasion have rarely felt uncompetitive.

Yesterday’s victory over the Championship side was no different, with most of the likely starting eleven also playing the majority of the game, often looking a class above the Canaries into the bargain.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The intensity of these friendlies should set Ange Postecoglou’s side in good stead for next weekend’s opening Scottish Premiership match against Aberdeen at Celtic Park, with only Carl Starfelt unavailable after sustaining an injury on international duty before the commencement of pre-season.

Whilst the debate about Celtic eventually playing permanently in England will likely rage on, the positive endorsement from an old rival in Kenny McLean is a nice one to have, when Scottish football is frequently unfairly disparaged in English football circles.

In other news: Celtic’s League Cup defence; draw details, first fixture, dates, potential opponents