Amidst the joy and sheer adulation that surrounded the Celtic performance and result against Derek McInnes Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, there was the special comeback of Swedish international Carl Starfelt whom was struck down with a hamstring injury whilst on Nations League duty back in June.
Ironically, Carl replaced Moritz Jenz who also complained of a minor niggle during the match. Moritz had been solid at the back of the Hoops rearguard alongside USA international Cameron Carter-Vickers, ensuring the nomadic Kyle Lafferty was left chasing a paper bag in the wind. At no point did Kilmarnock pose any serious threat to us in an attacking sense and it allowed us to sweep them aside offensively.
Carl’s return to the side was extremely pleasing to see and highlights the strength in depth we now possess as we chase both domestic and European success this season. Carl looked delighted to be back fit and healthy and he played his part in a thoroughly deserving win for the Champions. Speaking after the game to Celtic TV, the Sweden international defender was clearly thrilled.
““It was a very fun moment to score my first goal for the club, and fun to be back on the pitch,” Starfelt said. “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.
The big defender also acknowledged the fantastic away support, who never stopped backing their team from the first whistle to the last. He added: “They were unbelievable like always and they help us a lot in the games. It was a really good game today – 5-0 on an away pitch against top opposition, so we are very, very happy.”
The competition for places within this side is definitely hotting up now and Carl only sees that as a positive as he watched newest defensive signing Moritz Jenz help keep a clean sheet. He said: “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.”
Despite opening his Hoops goalscoring account, the super Swede insisted he was just glad to be back in the side fighting and competing once again for the jersey. He said: “It’s always frustrating in one way, obviously 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 today. Hopefully, we’ll go from here.”
Watch Carl talk about his goal and his joy at being back in the green and white: