“They celebrated as if they were already champions,” Nicholas Kuhn’s brilliant Ibrox dig

Celtic’s German winger Nicholas Kuhn has been receiving media attention in his homeland as he plays for the Scottish Champions and is teammates to four of Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad that will face the hosts on Friday evening in the Euro 2024 opener as Germany look to become only the fourth home country to win the European Championships (Euro 2024) on home soil.

And the £3m Celtic signing from Rapid Vienna in the January transfer window reckons that he’s reached the top level in football playing for Celtic as he looks ahead with great enthusiasm to next season and the chance to play in the Champions League.

Kuhn is not involved in his national side set-up at the moment, but having played at all other levels, he remains determined to win international honours for Germany at the senior level.

The Celtic winger also reflected on the dramatic first four months of his Celtic career which saw him collect winners medals in the Scottish Premiership and the Scottish Cup and he couldn’t resist a wee dig at theRangers for their post match celebrations after that 3-3 draw at Ibrox in early April.

Kuhn said to the media, back home in Germany as reported via The Herald: “In my first derby against (the)Rangers, I was in the starting eleven. We played away at Ibrox. In the first ten minutes of a game like that, you can hardly breathe. But we quickly took a 2-0 lead. The atmosphere at that moment was indescribable. You had to be there to understand it.

“It ended 3-3 and afterwards they celebrated as if they were already champions. But after that we dominated the league, played great games and got all the points we could. And then there was the derby at Celtic Park,” Kuhn recalled.

Scott Tanser challenges Nicolas Kuhn. Celtic v St Mirren, Scottish Premiership, , Celtic Park,  – 13 April 2024. Photo Stuart Wallace/Shutterstock

“Suddenly you’re playing with 60,000 fans behind you and not 50,000 against you. We scored two goals, (the)Rangers got a red card and we brought the result over the finish line. That was the big step towards the title.

“The Scottish Cup final win was crazy. You can’t really explain what happens in the stadium. When you lift the trophy in front of 50,000 people, those are memories that will last forever,” Kuhn said.

Reflecting on his move to Celtic from the Austrian side he added: “When Celtic asked me to move, I did everything I could to make this move happen. It was my chance to win the championship and prove myself at a huge club. I wear the No.10 shirt at the club.

“That is also a statement from me – and of course, there is a lot of pressure on me. Next year I will play in the Champions League for the first time, that was always the goal. Now no one can say that I am lacking something. It may have taken me a little longer, but I have reached the top level.”

Breaking into the German side is not going to be easy, but Nicolas Kuhn backs himself to make that happen and if he manages to do it that can only be a good thing for Celtic.

“That’s extremely big for me. My statistics in the youth national teams over the years speak for themselves. I’ve also always loved wearing the German jersey.

“When we were fighting against relegation at Aue in Bundesliga 2 a few years ago, I said in an interview that my next goal was to play in the Champions League and return to the German team. Well, I hope to fulfil that one big dream next season with Celtic. The goal after that is clear to me…the German national team,” the Celtic winger said.

Looking ahead the the Germany v Scotland opener on Friday evening, Kuhn gave this assessment of his Celtic captain Callum McGregor, as he pinpointed the contribution Scotland’s midfield master could make to a Scotland shock result in Munich.

“Callum McGregor can hurt the Germans,” Kuhn warned his countrymen. “He is a real leader. He is a player who just doesn’t stop running. He doesn’t stop until the final whistle. He also has a strong passing game – and he’s just a great guy too.

“Callum is actually a rather quiet person, but at Celtic, he speaks up in the dressing room when something goes wrong. Then he sometimes intervenes. So he’s the manager’s extended arm.

“Over the years he’s gained a lot of experience here and won over 20 titles with this club. Callum knows how to win big games.”

Kuhn accepts that Germany will be strong favourites to win the match, and indeed the group, but warns that getting the three points in the Euro 2024 opener is going to far from being a formality for his country.

“Germany is definitely the favourite,” he said. “But anything is possible in a single game. The Scots will fight hard. They also have some very good professionals in their ranks.

“Scott McTominay, for example, plays for Manchester United and there are the four guys I play with at Celtic – Callum, Greg Taylor, Anthony Ralston and James Forrest.

“The way they tackle each other in Scottish football is simply different – things are much rougher here than in Germany,” he noted, suggesting that if it comes to a battle Scotland will not come up short.

Three Celtic players are likely to start in the match with Anthony Ralston likely to be the right wingback, Callum McGregor in the engine room in the middle of the park and James Forrest on the wing (probably the left).

A draw would do Scotland nicely and Steve Clarke is likely to have a defensive shape that will if all goes to plan, frustrate the German team and the home support the longer the game goes without an opener for the hosts.

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds 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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