Friday 22 September 2017

Lennon's new Bhoy Ibrahim vows to add flair in chase for silverware

Ronnie Esplin

New Celtic signing Rabiu Ibrahim aims to make an immediate breakthrough into the Hoops first team.

The 20-year-old Nigerian midfielder signed a three-and-a-half-year deal last week and has since had his work permit processed.

With Celtic flying high at the top of the Scottish Premier League and still in both cups -- with the League Cup semi-final against Falkirk at Hampden coming up on Sunday -- the former PSV Eindhoven and Sporting Lisbon player may have to wait to see some action.

However, that did not appear to be on the confident Ibrahim's mind when asked about finding a place in Neil Lennon's side.

"It depends on the coach," he said. "We haven't discussed that yet but the gaffer has been encouraging me in training and has made me feel at home.

"He has the final say but of course I am ready, that's why I am here. You always want to aim for the highest and to be the best player.

"My immediate goal is to play for Celtic and work hard for the team and try to win trophies.

"It was very unfortunate for me at PSV as my direct competitor for a place was the captain, Ola Toivonen, who is a great player and a very experienced international.

"However, I do believe with good guidance I will be given a chance here at Celtic to prove myself, which I believe I will."

Lennon claimed it had taken him only an hour of watching Ibrahim in a friendly game against St Johnstone at Lennoxtown to make the decision to offer him a contract.

Ibrahim feels he has more in his locker for his new boss and the Hoops fans.

"I was very happy and I feel flattered for him to say that about me," said the Nigeria U-23 player.

"I treated it as a normal game, I played the way I am supposed to play. It wasn't my best, my best is yet to come.

"I found it easier because of the players, they are very good players who know what to do. Honestly, I must say there is a very talented group of players here."

Ibrahim revealed that his heroes include France legend Zinedine Zidane and current Spain superstar David Silva but does not encourage comparisons with any player.

"I don't want to compare myself with anyone," he said. "I know what I am capable of and I have my own talent and own way of playing.

"I am an exciting player with flair and creativity. I love to assist as well as score goals and I am a very hard worker."

Irish Independent

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