Carl Starfelt praises Yuki Kobayashi after confident Celtic debut

The defender welcomed the addition of the Japan international to an already competitive squad.

Carl Starfelt praises Yuki Kobayashi after confident Celtic debut SNS Group

Celtic defender Carl Starfelt praised Yuki Kobayashi on an assured Celtic debut and welcomed the competition for places at the club.

Kobayashi completed his move from Vissel Kobe at the beginning of the transfer window but has had to wait for his first start in a Celtic jersey.

A minor injury to Cameron Carter-Vickers created an opportunity for the Japanese defender and he got his chance in Wednesday’s 4-0 win over St Mirren.

Starfelt, who moved to the right-side of central defence to accommodate his new partner, was impressed with the new arrival.

“I thought he played really well,” Starfelt said. “It was a good debut for him. He was cool on the ball and he won his duels. He was really good.

“Was it a welcome to Scotland? Yes. That is what a lot of the games are like here. It’s very physical.

“I think he did really well and he showed he can handle it. I didn’t give him too much advice, just the normal stuff like getting to know each other and knowing how close to be to each other to help each other out.

“The competition for places is really good, it pushes everyone. It keeps everyone on their toes and on edge, while developing their games. The rest is up to the coach.”

After maintaining their nine-point lead in the Premiership, Celtic now turn their attention to the Scottish Cup and their fourth round tie against Morton.

Starfelt and his teammates have ambitions to lift the trophy and know there is no room for slip-ups.

“It’s the cup and you only have one chance,” he said. “If you have been in football for a while you know anything can happen.

“It doesn’t really matter what league you come from.

“You really need to be focused and if you relax even 10 percent then anything can happen.

“That will be the message we get before the games and all of the players know it.

“I hope – no, I know – there is no risk of complacency.”

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