CARL STARFELT has already answered one Celtic call and now he is ready to answer a second.
The Swedish international centre-back didn’t hesitate to quit Russian club Rubin Kazan to agree a four-year contract in his £4.5million switch to Parkhead.
And now, after the required isolation period, the 26-year-old defender is poised to make his debut against Hearts in the Premiership opener at Tynecastle tomorrow night.
Following the disappointment of yet another premature Champions League exit, it is absolutely imperative that the Hoops do not stumble at the first hurdle in their pursuit of their tenth title in 11 years.
Starfelt admitted: “It’s a true honour to be here and to come here to such a big club with such a great history and maybe the world’s best fans, so I’m very happy.
HOME SWEET HOME…Carl Starfelt gets used to his new surroundings. Image courtesy Celtic TV.
“I had to be in quarantine for a time, so obviously it was very tough to see the boys play and not to be able to train with the team and help the team, so I’m very glad to be here finally and I can’t wait to get started.
“When Celtic call, you answer and I knew right away what I wanted to do, so I’m very happy that all this has gone through.”
Starfelt met his new team-mates at Lennoxtown this morning as Ange Postecoglou prepared for his first league game in Scotland after his arrival last month. The Swede revealed captain Callum McGregor had already been in contact with him.
The powerful back-four operator, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “He sent me a nice message and we spoke a little bit. Everyone I’ve been in touch with in the club so far has been very welcoming, so it’s nice that your team-mates help you get into everything.
“It will be nice to meet players and learn how the team wants to play, to meet the coach and get into everything. I think everything will happen very quickly since there will be a game already this weekend, so I’m delighted to get going. I’ve been waiting for it for some time now.
“If the coach wants to play me, I will, of course, and give 100 per cent. It’s up to the coach whether I play or not. I’ve been training the last few days and I feel ready.
THE NEW NUMBER FOUR…Carl Starfelt in Paradise. Image courtesy Celtic TV.
“My hopes are, first of all, to get into the team, to know how the team plays and just get a good start. It’s always a little bit of adaptation when you come to a new club.
“I want that to be as smooth as possible, and then we have bigger goals. I want to be successful here, for the team to be successful, to win titles, to play in Europe – I want to do all those things. But I need to focus on the here and now – and right now it’s just to get into the group and the team.”
Starfelt becomes the ninth Swedish player to play for the Hoops among illustrious names such as Henrik Larsson, Johan Mjallby and, most recently, Mikael Lustig.
The defender added: “Celtic has a great reputation in Sweden. “Most people know the history and when you think of Scottish football, you think of Celtic. Of course, we’ve had many Swedish players who did it very well here, played in the national team and did very well, so the club has a very high reputation.
“I didn’t play alongside Mikael in the games, although I’ve trained beside him, but the little I’ve spoken with him, he seems to have enjoyed it here a lot at Celtic, so I hope I will get the same experience.”