EVERY player called into action from the bench in the course of a game wants to make an impact on the pitch to stake a claim for a place in the starting XI.
And Jeremie Frimpong certainly did just that at the Skonto Stadium in Riga on Thursday night. The 19-year-old was brought on with 10 minutes of the first half remaining, replacing James Forrest who had picked up an injury.
And the Dutch defender played a decisive role in Celtic’s 1-0 victory over Riga FC to book a place in the play-off round of the UEFA Europa League.
Throughout the second half in particular, his pace and attacking intent down the right flank caused consternation in the Latvian side’s defence, and it was his first-time cross into the box in the 90th minute which was converted by fellow substitute, Moi Elyounoussi, for the only goal of the game.
Frimpong, who was Celtic TV’s Man of the Match, was delighted with the win and his contribution in it.
Speaking after the game, he said: “We played really well and created so many chances, and eventually we got one in, so it was a good win.
“If I come on, I want to do my best for the team. I want to create chances for the team and, obviously, I want my team to win, so when I got the call to come on, I was delighted and I wanted to give it my all and that’s what I did.
“Whenever I got the ball, in my head it was all about helping the team. We needed something, we needed to get through, so as soon as I got the ball I just attacked. And, obviously, I did my defensive part as well.
“I’m a footballer and I want to play every single time, so, like I said, when the manager put me on, I just wanted to prove that I can play.”
The decisive goal came just as it looked as though Celtic would face extra-time and possibly penalties in order the safely navigate through the one-off third qualifying round tie.
Ryan Christie threaded a ball through the inside-right channel, and it was Frimpong’s pace which saw him reach it and fire in a low, first-time cross for Elyounoussi to finish with aplomb.
“I just ran and crossed it in, and luckily he was there,” said Frimpong. “But there were so many chances and we deserved the goal, so I was really happy with that.
“Once we got the goal, we defended really well and got everyone back, and when we got the ball we tried going into the corners, so it was a great team effort.”
culled from celticfc.net