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Zheng Zhi surprised to make Celtic debut in Old Firm derby

Zheng Zhi was thrown straight in at the deep end when asked to represent Celtic for the first time in the Old Firm derby at Ibrox earlier this month. But the 29-year-old China captain has an impressive debut despite the 2-1 defeat.

"I hope that I can be a successful player here and win the league this season," he said.

"I know that Celtic has a long history and lots of supporters and I hope that when I leave I have a good name at the club and among the supporters and that people remember me."

Zheng believes the time he spent at Charlton helped him cope with the occasion.

"To be honest, I didn't expect to play," he said.

"I had spoken to the manager beforehand and we had agreed that I might need more fitness.

"But then the day before the derby, Barry Robson was injured. It meant that the manager had to make a quick decision.

"I had heard about the Old Firm game before I moved here.

"I realise it's a big, important game, not just in Scotland, but across Europe and in football in general.

"I thought I did okay in this match, but I think it helped me that I got a lot of experience in England, playing in the Premier League and the Championship.

"It helped prepare me for this match and gave me an idea of what to expect."

He now hopes his versatility will help him nail a place in Tony Mowbray's plans this season.

He told www.celticfc.net: "I can play as a second striker, but I can also play in the centre of midfield.

"Where I play is really up to the manager and he was the main reason that I joined Celtic.

"I hope that we can work well together and have a good relationship. It has been very good so far."



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