Starfelt thrilled to win first man-of-the-match on Celtic comeback

The defender says players feel comfortable in Ange Postecoglou's system.

Starfelt thrilled to win first man-of-the-match on Celtic comeback Craig Williamson via SNS Group
Starfelt was a stand-out as Celtic beat Hearts 1-0.

Carl Starfelt was delighted to get the first man-of-the-match award of his career on his Celtic return.

Starfelt came back from a hamstring injury to make his first appearance since October 30 as Celtic beat Hearts 1-0 in the cinch Premiership on Thursday.

The centre-back was thrust in after Cameron Carter-Vickers dropped out because of a personal issue and the Swede was happy with the clean sheet.

“It’s awful to be injured, very boring,” the 26-year-old said. “I have been training individually for a while and two sessions with the team and I was thrown right into it.

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“I’m happy with the performance, a good win, we didn’t concede which is nice as a centre-back, and the team showed some character.

“It’s the first man of the match of my career so I’m happy with that. You are never 100 per cent sure about fitness when you have been out and not trained so much but I felt good fitness wise.

“It was quite late (when I found out I was playing). I don’t think I would have played the game if Cameron was here but I am just happy I could play and help the team get three points.”

The outcome was a sign of progress from the opening day of the league season, when Starfelt struggled on his debut in a 2-1 defeat at Tynecastle.

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“I feel like the team is getting more comfortable in the way we are playing,” the former IFK Gothenburg and Rubin Kazan player said.

“We are getting to know each other better. I am not getting carried away just because of one performance, I will continue to work hard, but we have found a little bit of security in our system and we are on a good run. We want to keep enjoying our football and keep winning games.”

Starfelt dismissed concerns over the chances Hearts created in the second half.

“Of course as a defender you know the opposition will have chances but I think we were able to resist it,” he said. “We also had great chances to score more goals, so that is normal.

“I am more happy with the clean sheet and I think we showed some resistance. Of course they had one or two good chances but when you face good opponents, sometimes they will get chances. That’s nothing strange.

“You cannot only play one way and be good in that way. Everyone knows we want to dominate games, have the ball, be in the opponents’ half, and I think we were that for most of the game.

“But in the end you have to show resistance and you will not always dominate for 90 minutes. You have to show something else and I feel like we showed that.”