‘Premier League level’ – Norwich boss Dean Smith praises Celtic

Norwich City boss Dean Smith watched on from the sidelines at Parkhead on Saturday afternoon as Ange Postecoglou’s men out his team to the sword. In what was a convincing victory for the lads in green and white, Celtic’s movement and all-round play was too much for the Championship outfit and Smith was effusive in his praise for the Hoops.

He was really impressed with the rotation between the starting eleven and the inversion of the full-backs throughout the game. “Celtic are a good level team,” Smith said via Football Scotland. “You can see what they have been working on. They have good rotation and movement, full-backs coming inside and the wide players drift onto the outside and try to give overloads in different parts of the pitch. They have really good movement too.

“They are probably a Premier League team in the making. [It was] a really good test for us. Obviously we’ve got Hibs tomorrow but it’s a great game to have going into Cardiff next weekend. A real test because of the way they play, they have really good technicians of the ball and play at speed. I’m happy with it.”

The fact that the former Premier League manager is happy with the defeat speaks enough for itself. In truth, Norwich could have been on the end of a severe hammering yesterday if we had been more clinical as we cut them open with relative ease. The movement of our attacking players and the industry of the midfield area proved far too much for a side that won the Championship the season before last.

There was also a homecoming for former Celtic star, Teemu Pukki. The Finland international has enjoyed a very successful spell in the game since he left Celtic Park all those years ago. Signed by Neil Lennon in 2013 for around £2 million, he never quite found his footing in Glasgow and eventually moved on. His exploits have been well documented however, as he has been a Norwich City modern great and scored countless international goals for his country.

And it was also a case of what might have been for Norwich City as they watched David Turnbull come off the bench to score the second goal of the afternoon. While at Motherwell, Turnbull travelled down to Norwich City but opted instead to sign for the Hoops.

It seemed yesterday as though everything Ange has been saying has come to pass. The preparation that has been done in getting the first team ready to win games of football this summer looks like it has reached the terminus. With Aberdeen to come next week – in what will be the season opener at Paradise – the pre-season matches will stand us in good stead. Yesterday’s win against a good level team from England was the final flourish as we start a new domestic calendar.

Paul Gillespie

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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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