Scepovic to forget poor first season and ‘adapt’
CELTIC striker Stefan Scepovic admits he has flopped in his first season at Parkhead because he has struggled to adapt to the long-ball game and the physical side of Scottish football.
He has also criticised teams who park the bus against Celtic and the reluctance of referees to crack down on challenges against him.
The Serb signed a four-year deal with the Scottish champions on transfer deadline day last summer in a £2.7m move from Sporting Gijon, but the 25-year-old endured a difficult first campaign, rarely starting and scoring just four league goals.
And Scepovic has revealed he’s held talks with manager Ronny Deila in a bid to get his Celtic career back on track.
“The season was difficult,” said Scepovic. “There are many differences between Spanish and Scottish football and it was hard to adapt.
“Wherever I have played I have always scored goals or helped with assists, but it has been hard adapting to Scottish football. There are many long balls and this has been a shock to me. I spoke with the manager Ronny Deila and he told me he knew that it would take me a season to adjust.
“Football in Scotland is very physical and there is another issue which is also a problem – Celtic are the biggest team and everyone wants to scrap or win one point against us.
“The referees have difficulty in removing their cards from their pockets. For it to be a yellow card, it has to be a strong tackle and the red card rarely comes out.
“I was frustrated because I wasn’t playing, but after my conversation with the coach, I understand it won’t just happen for me overnight.”
But despite the disappointments of his first season, Scepovic insists he wants to stay.
He said: “I’m a Celtic player and I am only thinking about doing things right here.
“In the future, you don’t know what will happen, but right now I am focussed on playing for Celtic.
“Last season, I arrived after Maribor beat us – the goal this year is to be in the Champions League group stages. We are a very big team and should be there.”
TOUGH TIME: Stefan Scepovic has struggled to break through at Parkhead after a £2.7m move