CARL STARFELT managed something in 11 minutes against Kilmarnock yesterday which had eluded him in the previous 13 months – score a goal for Celtic.
The Swedish central defender came off the substitutes’ bench at Rugby Park to replace the limping Moritz Jenz and thumped in the champions’ fourth goal in their 5-0 romp in the Ayrshire sunshine.
Starfelt, making his 50th appearance for the team following his £4.2million arrival from Russian giants Rubin Kazan in July last year, pounced at the far post after Killie keeper Sam Walker had stretched to push away a glancing header from Cameron Carter-Vickers.
The stopper saw his first effort blocked by the netminder, but he followed up quickly to lash the rebound into the rigging before celebrating as though he had just claimed the Champions League winner!
PICK IT OUT…Carl Starfelt hammers in his first Celtic goal – and the fourth in the 5-0 rout over Kilmarnock – as he leaves keeper Sam Walker helpless while defender Lewis Mayo looks on.
It was the back-four operator’s first outing for the title-winners since playing in the 6-0 win over Motherwell at Parkhead on May 14 as the curtain came down on Ange Postecoglou’s extraordinary first crusade as club manager.
An injury while representing his nation in the pre-season meant he was forced to sit out the warm-up matches and the opening league games against Aberdeen and Ross County.
Now he is looking to make up for lost time and said: “It was a very fun moment to score my first goal for the club – and fun to be back on the pitch.
“It’s been a while now, I’ve been out with an injury and it’s always tough to be not able to play.
“But I’m obviously delighted to make my first minutes back and to score a goal was a bonus, as well.
“You saw from my celebration it was a relief as well, so it was nice.”
JOY BHOYS…Carl Starfelt is congratulated by Cameron Carter-Vickers and substitute Anthony Ralston after his breakthrough strike.
Starfelt also thanked the marvellous Hoops followers and, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “They were unbelievable like always and they help us a lot in the games.
“It was a really good game – 5-0 on an away pitch against top opposition, so we are very, very happy.”
Welcoming the challenge of on-loan German Jenz, a scorer in the 3-1 win over Ross County last wekend and also Killie yesterday, the Swede added: “It’s good, we have competition all over the pitch. but we’ve had some very good performances now in the backline.
“It’s good because we push each other and now it’s also scoring goals and showing in the training that you want to play.
“I think that’s how the manager wants it and it will push us to become even better.
”When I got the knock I knew that I would be out for a while.
“You work towards a goal, and that goal is to be back here on the pitch and I’m really happy that I can say that I got some minutes.
“Hopefully, we’ll go from here.”
ON THE BALL…Carl Starfelt makes his first appearance of the season at Rugby Park.
The visitors were coasting before Starfelt’s historic strike with Kyogo Furuhashi, Filipe Jota – with another memorable screamer – and Jenz had netted in the first-half and Giorgos Giakoumakis sealed the triumph with an acrobatic overhead-kick for the fifth.
Postecoglou’s remain at the Premiership pinnacle on goal difference and all eyes are now on the visit of Hearts to the east end of Glasgow on Sunday.
The Tynecastle club warmed up for the encounter with an impressive 4-1 victory over Dundee United in Edinburgh yesterday.