IT APPEARED £3million new Bhoy Nicolas Kuhn had hit the ground running when he scored within six minutes of his second Celtic appearance.

The German winger had sealed his switch from Rapid Vienna the previous month and made his debut as a second-half substitute for Luis Palma in the 1-0 win over Ross County at Parkhead.

Kuhn was also introduced as a 57th=minute replacement for Liel Abada in the match against Aberdeen at Pittodrie in early February with the champions trailing 1-0 to a Bojan Miovski strike.

He came on with another January recruit, Norwich City’s Adam Idah who had agreed a short term loan deal, and the two players combined to fashion the equaliser in the 1-1 stalemate with the wide Bhoy’s low drive taking a slight deflection on its way past Kelle Roos.

NUMBER ONE…Nicolas Kuhn nets his first Celtic goal in the 1-1 draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie in February. Connor Barron gets a close-up view.

It transpired to be one of only three goals claimed by the one-time Bayern Munich and Ajax prospect – the others coming in a 3-1 home victory over St Johnstone in March and the 3-3 Scottish Cup semi-final draw with the Dons at Hampden the following month.

Kuhn had been replaced by Palma in the 86th minute and was not available to take a penalty-kick in the shoot-out as the trophy holders won 6-5 on their way to ultimate triumph over Rangers at the same venue on May 25.

The fleet-footed forward lost his first-team place to evergreen James Forrest in the crucial run-in to the campaign that eventually yielded a third successive title – the Hoops’ twelfth in 13 years – as well as a Scottish Cup for a record 42nd time in the club’s history.

Kuhn was a bit-part player at the crescendo of a memorable return for Brendan Rodgers, but to be fair to the player he had suffered dramatic weight loss following painful dental surgery which left him unable to eat properly.

Now, though, the 24-year-old winger is back to top strength and promises the Celtic fans will see the real Nicolas Kuhn in the new season.

JUST CHAMPION…Nicolas Kuhn has lift-off courtesy of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Tomoki Iwata as Celtic seal a third successive title with a 5-0 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on May 15.

He said: There was a special reason for why I lost the weight, so, at first, it was just about getting it back. I managed to do that, but I was at a new club in a new country.

“Also, when I came in it wasn’t an easy moment for the whole club. So, it’s going to be a little bit different this year.

“I knew it was going to be important for me to come back for a full pre-season and start from the beginning with the rest of the team. I stayed in contact with my personal trainer back in Germany over the summer and also he kept in touch with the people at Celtic. It was perfect.

“They sent me a plan and I was doing all the work during my vacation so that I came back fully prepared. Now I’m in a good place and the summer was good, but I’m here to get back to work.

“You have to be in shape and, when you come back, you want to be ready.”

Kuhn will miss tonight’s warm-up match against Queen’s Park, but will be in the squad that flies out to America a week on Saturday for the whirlwind three-games-in-a-week tour where they will face DC United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

The flanker, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “It’ll be nice to be with the boys. In the hotel before games, it’s always nice to be with them. We’re looking forward to it.

“It’s really important for us to have those tests against big teams in America. It’s great preparation for the Champions League, as well, and good for us to see where we stand.

“It was always the biggest dream I had, to play in the Champions League.

“I was on loan from Bayern Munich to a second league team in Germany. I did an interview when I was there and I said that my goal is to one day play in the Champions League – and one day to get back in the national team.

“The first goal I hope I will reach next season.”

CUP THAT CHEERS…Nicolas Kuhn celebrates Celtic’s Hampden success on May 25 along with matchwinner Adam Idah, Daizen Maeda, boss Brendan Rodgers and Liam Scales.

Kuhn added: “I’ve played at a couple of clubs where they also want to win every trophy. So, I know the mentality needed at a club like Celtic.

“I wasn’t at Bayern Munich when they last won the Champions League, but I trained with Ajax all season when they got to the semi-final against Tottenham.

“So, I know the importance of the tournament. It was a really special feeling to be with the boys when they got so close. When I said I wanted to get back to the Champions League I know not everyone would have thought it would have happened so quickly.

“But I always knew I had the ability to get there. That was always the dream and the goal. I didn’t really think about not getting there.

“I am happy that it has happened within two and a half years. It feels like my Celtic career starts now. That is the goal. I just want to have a good pre-season, stay fit and show everyone what I can do.

“I’ve had the introduction last season, but now I hope it’s time for people to see the real thing.”

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