Former Celtic striker Stefan Scepovic has been remembering his Parkhead days as he reflected fondly on the talent he played alongside in Glasgow.
The Serbian centre-forward was one of the first names in the door after Ronny Deila became the Hoops boss in 2014. Scepovic would arrive later that summer on a four-year deal for £2.3million (BBC). His transfer from Sporting Gijon at the time coincided with the arrival of John Guidetti, as Celtic looked like pushing on under Norwegian boss Deila.
However, things didn’t work out the way we all would’ve liked. Scepovic would only play 26 times for the club and bagged only five goals as he struggled to get a regular run in the team (Transfermarkt). The Serb would end up leaving permanently in June 2016 when he joined Getafe.
But now he plies his trade in Japan with Machida Zelvia, and despite the fact his time at Parkhead wasn’t as fruitful as he would’ve hoped, he only has positive things to say about the club and his former team-mates.
Previewing Scotland’s upcoming Euro 2020 play-off clash vs Serbia, Scepovic said the following as quoted by the Daily Record:
“My time at Celtic was a wonderful, unforgettable experience. All around me were good players and they are a huge club. I had Leigh Griffiths, Callum McGregor and Stuart Armstrong as teammates at Celtic and they are all in the current Scotland squad.
“Griffiths is always looking for the ball. He can find space and is extremely gifted with a ferocious shot. He’s not that tall, but he has a spring when he jumps and his reflexes are exceptional. He’s Scotland’s most dangerous player for me.
“Callum McGregor was only a kid when I was there, but I still remember him as being very comfortable on the ball and is good at reading a game. Stuart Armstrong arrived from Dundee United when I was there. He’s a hard worker. He gets up and down the pitch. He is technically very good. It’s no surprise to me to see him doing so well in the English Premier League with Southampton.”
Scepovic’s failure to make it at Celtic was a real surprise
How Scepovic didn’t make it at Celtic Park during a period when we were desperate for goalscorers was always a surprise to me.
The Serbian showed real physical qualities during his time at Parkhead and had real efficiency in holding the ball up. He also had an eye for goal and bagged some clinical efforts against the likes of Astra, Dinamo Zagreb, Kilmarnock, and Inverness. But he just couldn’t seem to find a level of consistency.
Added to that, John Guidetti started his Celtic career on fire whilst Leigh Griffiths was re-emerging as one of our main men at the start of 2015. Scepovic, who appeared to struggle when it came to settling in, was always up against it considering Deila preferred to use a one-striker system. Not to mention we also had Anthony Stokes playing well under the Norwegian to begin with.
Since leaving the Hoops in 2016, Scepovic hasn’t really managed to kickstart his career the way he would’ve liked. Over the last four years, he’s played for Getafe, Sporting Gijon, Videoton, and Jagiellonia Bialystok respectively. He’s never really managed to make any of those clubs stick.
Even now, the big Serb only has one goal in 26 appearances with Machida. His career just hasn’t gone in the trajectory it looked like moving in after his high-profile arrival at Parkhead six years ago.
Regardless, it’s not as if Stefan left the club empty-handed. With two Premiership winners medals and a League Cup success to his name, he tasted success in Scotland as a collective if not individually. And for that alone, he can say he played a small part in our nine-in-a-row run.