“I’m maybe not 100 per cent just yet but it’s getting better,” Nicolas Kühn

When Nicolas Kühn came off of the bench at Pittodrie against Aberdeen and scored on his debut, many would have been forgiven for thinking that it would have been plain sailing from there on in for the German winger at his new club. Instead of that catapulting him into automatic first-choice pick at right-wing, he really struggled following that initial impact in a hooped shirt in the intervening weeks.

Nicolas Kuhn of Celtic scores. Aberdeen v Celtic, Cinch Scottish Premiership, Football, Pittodrie, Aberdeen, UK – 03 Feb 2024 photo Mark Runnacles Shutterstock

Arriving at the club from Rapid Wien in the Austrian Bundesliga, the player had lost seven kilos in weight due to having his wisdom tooth removed and it has severely hampered his progress in terms of his running ability since joining the Scottish club. A Scottish Cup tie against Livingston at Celtic Park gave him the opportunity to make his case in front of the Celtic support once more and this time, he took it with both hands (or feet for that matter).

Daizen Maeda celebrates scoring his team’s first goal with Paulo Bernardo and Nicolas-Gerrit Kuhn during the Scottish Cup Quarter Final match between Celtic and Livingston at Celtic Park on March 10, 2024  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Tormenting Cristian Montano who was playing at LWB, the tricky operator made light work of David Martindale’s side that day and linked up excellently well with our other forwards to help put Celtic into the hat for the Semi-final.

When Yang Hyun-jun – who had begun to come onto a game himself – was sent off at Tyencastle for a ridiculous interpretation of the high-boot rule, it presented the former Ajax and Bayern Munich youth with an extended run in Brendan Rodgers’ side.

That two-game ban which his South Korean comrade suffered has been to his own benefit, as Kühn has presented himself well in the past few weeks which hasn’t gone unnoticed with the Celtic fanbase. Murmurings have started amognst the chattering masses that we could have found ourselves another good yin, although there are tougher tasks which lie in wait for the attacker, which he is looking forward to sinking his teeth into.

“For me personally, it took some time for me to get into the new system and everything,” he said via Daily Record. “But now it feels like it’s getting better and better with every game. Ross County was my first game without any games before. I’m happy that the weight is back and I have the strength to go over 90 minutes. I’m maybe not 100 per cent just yet but it’s getting better.”

The momentum in Kühn’s game has coincided with an upturn in Celtic performances on the field and both are interrelated for sure. His ability to link up intricately with Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda both have been key in recent times, and the player has brought that vibrancy back to a position which has been sorely lacking this season for the Scottish Premiership Champions.

His industry at the Toni Macaroni Arena was vital in helping the Bhoys to a 3-0 victory and Nicolas was pleased with the result and the support he and his teammates received. “I thought we played a great game. Defensive-wise, we were strong because Livingston had no chances,” he said. “In the second half, we were happy to get the first goal. Then we found more space, so at the end 3-0 was OK. It was unbelievable [at Livingston]. It felt like a home game. The fans were great. For Sunday, we need to focus on ourselves.”

Next up will be the small matter of a potential powderkeg Glasgow Derby match with theRangers at Ibrox this Sunday lunchtime, and the winger can’t wait to have a crack at it. He’s been told all about the gravity of this fixture from none other than his agent and former Oldco star, Christian Nerlinger, who Kühn joked about being a Celtic fan now! He said of the Glasgow Derby match this weekend: “At Bayern, we had 1860 Munich as a big derby there. I’ve had some derbies already.”

On suggestions that he and his agent have a bit of banter going with the game in hand, he revealed: “Not yet but in the beginning he told me a lot about the game and I think now he’s a Celtic fan! He played a big part of it [signing]. He told me a lot about Celtic and told me what a great club it is. Of course we have pressure but I have played already at Ajax and Bayern. They also want to win the league and every trophy there.

Celtic v St. Johnstone – Nicolas Kuhn celebrates scoring their sides second goal during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday March 16, 2024. Photo Andrew Milligan

“I am looking forward to the game against Rangers a lot. I have heard a lot about the game already and now I am happy and hope to get a chance to play. My manager, he played for Rangers. Before I came here, he told me a lot about the match and how important it is to the people.”

The player insists he’s willing and able if his boss decides he’s the man to start on the right-wing berth come 12pm on 7 April, but understands that competition for places is fierce within the squad which gives Celtic an edge.

He added: “Of course. I want to play every game but we have a really good team and everyone is challenging each other. So that is the most important thing for the team, that everyone who is behind is giving pressure to the other one. We have to take points and make good games now. We’re in a good place. We feel happy about what is coming.”

Paul Gillespie

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About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.


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