Bullish Patryk Klimala ready to see off challenge of a new Celtic striker

Polish forward unfazed by the prospect of Steven Fletcher or Albian Ajeti joining club

Celtic manager Neil Lennon with Patryk Klimala, who says he feels in ‘good shape’. 
Photograph: Craig Williamson/SNS
Celtic manager Neil Lennon with Patryk Klimala, who says he feels in ‘good shape’. Photograph: Craig Williamson/SNS

It would be understandable if Patryk Klimala wanted to live in his very own bubble that allowed the Celtic striker to avoid any news of possible arrivals at his club. Hardly a day goes by without Neil Lennon’s men being linked with a new front man.

It appears a loan deal for West Ham’s Albian Ajeti is imminent, while the club have had a bid rejected for Peterborough goalscorer Ivan Toney, and made an approach to experienced forwards Steven Fletcher and Lyon Taylor.

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The kingpin status of Odsonne Edouard ensures chances for Klimala are already limited – even with Leigh Griffiths currently injured and Vakoun Bayo heading to Toulouse on loan. The Pole netted his first competitive Celtic goal as an 86th-minute substitute last week in the 5-1 thrashing of Hamilton Accies underpinned by an Edouard hat-trick. On the back of that, the bullish 22-year-old believes it is any new rival that should be concerned over opportunities.

“I don’t see any problems with that. I don’t know what I can tell you because I am in good shape, no problems, Celtic can take another striker,” said Klimala, signed in a £3.5 million deal from Jagiellonia Białystok in January. “I don’t see the problem. I am in good shape, Odsonne is in good shape so it is difficult for others [who come in].”

Klimala isn’t getting carried away after his first Celtic strike. He knows he will start this afternoon’s game at Kilmarnock on the bench, and could wait some time for a first start, with only five substitute appearances to his name so far.

“I waited for my chance last week,” he said. “I thought I would play more but Odsonne scored three, and if I could score three I would want to stay on the pitch. I am calm and waited for a long time in the league. After the game the manager told me good job, well done. It is only one goal, it’s not 28 goals. I have only played eight minutes [with added time, this season] and I think it’s a little job. It’s nothing special.”

Even after bulking up and adapting to playing with his back to goal, Klimala may appear to have a mountain to climb to cement a place in the senior side. Yet he has become accustomed to scaling the heights across his six months in the country.

“I like Glasgow,” he said. “You have really nice views. I like life here. The weather for me doesn’t matter, sometimes you have sun, sometimes you have rain. Me and my fiancée often walk on the hills. We don’t have these sorts of hills in Poland. I don’t know the names of the hills. I like to go there and just chill. We go walking with our dog.”

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