Sport Soccer

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Pukki’s Celtic career will take off – Paatelainen

Teemu Pukki of Celtic FC gets between Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano of FC Barcelona
Teemu Pukki of Celtic FC gets between Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano of FC Barcelona

CELTIC striker Teemu Pukki and his team-mates were left frustrated when they turned up at Glasgow Airport yesterday only to discover that their flight to Antalya in Turkey had been cancelled.

The Scottish champions, who will face Trabzonspor in a mini-tournament on Thursday, will now travel today.

The delay mirrored Pukki's time in Scotland, which has also yet to take off, and Finland manager Mixu Paatelainen believes that the struggling striker is running out of time to save his Celtic career.

Paatelainen left Kilmarnock to return to his homeland shortly after being voted Manager of the Year by the Scottish Football Writers' Association in 2011 but he has monitored the lack of progress the 23-year-old has made following his move from Schalke for £2.2m in August.

Manager Neil Lennon had hoped the Finn would fill the void left by the departure of Gary Hooper but Pukki has harvested only three goals from 21 appearances (seven of them from the bench) and he started just one of the club's six Champions League group matches.

Now, with Lennon publicly stating that he would like to sign a big-name striker during the January transfer window, Pukki's prospects of prevailing at Parkhead appear to have plummeted.

However, Paatelainen believes that Pukki will produce the goods for Celtic if he is given time, saying: "Teemu has made a slow start at Celtic but he has scored goals for Finland against top nations like Spain and has the ability to score goals in Scotland. There is no question about that."

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