Celtic 2-0 Norwich City – Watch the Goals plus all post match reaction from both clubs

Celtic beat Norwich City 2-0 today in the last pre-season match before the Scottish Premiership gets underway next Sunday with Aberdeen travelling down from the North East to provide Celtic with a decent challenge on the day the Champions of Scotland flag returns to Paradise.

Stephen Welsh spoke to Premier Sports ahead of kick-off…

Goals from Daizen Maeda and David Turnbull at either side of the interval gave Celtic a well deserved win against the Championship side, with 21 players getting some game-time and just Joe Hart seeing out the full match.

Reo Hatate was awarded the Man of the Match and it was well deserved, he spoke to Celtic TV afterwards with the help of his translator.

And Ange Postecoglou also seemed satisfied in his post match interview with the club’s own channel.

Celtic TV: It’s always nice to get a victory – but I know that’s not the important thing – as a run-out how did that feel this afternoon?

Ange Postecoglou: Yeah good. I think the victory is important as well but, yeah, I thought it was a real solid hit out. For the most part we controlled the game. Our possession was good. We worked hard defensively to deny them too much. And it was good to see after substitutions we didn’t have too much of a drop-off the boys stuck to the task. So I think it was a useful hit out for us.

Celtic TV: How impressed Have you been with Reo Hatate during this spell?

Ange Postecoglou: Yeah, it’s been good but for all our players I think they’ve enjoyed the fact that they have had a pre-season with us. I keep saying that we threw a lot of these guys in last year and they did super-well for us. But my belief is that they can be a lot better and that’s why we were really keen to retain the players we had last year and build on that. Reo’s one of them but there are quite a few guys who will have enjoyed having a pre-season together as a group and working hard and being ready for a season.

Celtic TV: There’s one more week to go. What does this week look like in terms of preparation for the opening of the season?

Ange Postecoglou:  Just another solid week of work on a training track. We’ve got a good eight days because the game’s on Sunday so the boys will have a good block of work, work on our game work on our physical stuff. I think we’ve had a decent pre-season campaign in that every game has been fairly competitive for us, which has been important. And for the most part we’ve gone through it unscathed in terms of – knock on wood – injuries, or any setbacks. We’re in a pretty good place.

Then speaking to the mainstream media, the Celtic manager explained his overall assessment of the pre-season – which has been vastly different from last season – and also gave a positive update on Carl Starfelt who is now close to returning to full training as he competes his rehab from the hamstring injury suffered in June while on international duty with Sweden.

“Our whole recruiting process so far has been about making our squad robust,” Ange said, as reported by Daily Record. “If we had some fragility last season then it was around the fact it was too much of a burden on the individuals and we ended up breaking down and losing key players for large chunks of the season.

“So we want to avoid that this season. In many respects we got away with it last season. In terms of the league, the Champions League and the cup competitions this season we want all of our players to be healthy so to have that will spread the burden amongst them.

“If we are going to play 60 games this season and try to compete in every competition then you have to have a strong squad. I don’t see it that way of being spoiled for choice.”

On Carl Starfelt, who is basically the only player carrying an injury, the Celtic manager suggests that the Sweden central defender will be around a week away from playing after returning to full training next week. That probably suggests that the Aberdeen game will come just too soon for him and it is more likely that Starfelt will return the following week for the trip to Dingwall to play Ross County.

“We’re hoping he’ll join in training at some point this week. He’s in the last stages and doing all the physical stuff away from the group. So knock on wood, he’s passed every stage and the handover to the football department should happen next week.

“That means that hopefully within a week or two he’s ready to go,” Ange revealed.

Postecoglou handed debuts to his two new signings Moritz Jenz and Aaron Mooy in the second half, even though they both had just one full day training with the squad on Friday.

“I just thought it was a good idea to get them a game,” Ange explained.

“It’s a big occasion any time you make your debut for a club at home, particularly at this football club. So I wanted to give them that experience today and I thought they acquitted themselves well. Moritz has had a pre-season although in the last week he’s not done too much but he looked good and comfortable out there.

“Aaron’s not been training but the point of the experience today was to give him the match-day experience. I know what Aaron’s like and he won’t take too long to get up to speed.”

Summarising what has been a successful pre-season with Celtic scoring plenty of goals and going undefeated while getting plenty of minutes into the players’ legs and avoiding any new injuries.

“The reality is we’re working hard in training so we’re not going into games wondering if the players are going to be fine,” Ange said.

“The whole point of pre-season is to prepare them for what’s ahead. It’s not just about winning games. In all our games we’ve shown a few bright spots but today was probably the most solid we’ve been both with the ball and without it.

“We’ll have a good week of training, freshen them up at the back end of the week and hopefully we’ll see the team being in a much better position to play with the sort of high tempo intensity that we want.”

Scotland international midfielder Kenny McLean, who described Celtic as a very good team, gave some post match feedback from the Norwich City point of view.

Dean Smith, the Norwich City manager described Celtic as “a very good technical side with a good way of playing and a good structure about them”…

Chris Sutton’s two favourite teams played today. Afterwards he commented:

“Celtic the better team. Reo Hatate superb to watch. Celtic slicker and greater confidence in the middle of the park. Norwich City not clicking in the final third. Feel for Pukki not a lot of service. Not sure Sargent on the right really is the best option!”

And Kyogo had this to say after today’s game: “Pre-season ended with good feelings. Time to focus on the first league match. Looking forward to it.”

Last word to Stephen Welsh…

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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