Stefan Johansen last night insisted he had no fears about making the step up from little Stromsgodset to Celtic.
The 23-year-old Norwegian international midfielder was presented to the media yesterday afternoon after signing a three-and-half-year deal for a £1.7m fee which could rise to £2m. The transfer is Celtic's first of the January signing window and the biggest move in Johansen's career. "It is a very big step for me," he said.
Recent signings Amido Balde and Teemu Pukki struggled to make an early impression with Celtic after arriving from overseas clubs for fees similar to Johansen's, although Virgil van Dijk eased in impressively having been bought for even more. The pressure to deliver remains constant on all new Celtic signings but Johansen claimed to be relaxed about handling expectations.
Having had his first experience of the stadium yesterday, albeit when it was empty, he was clearly excited about the prospect of taking his place in Celtic teams playing to crowds of up to 60,000. The Norwegian club Stromsgodset play in the Marienlyst Stadium which can hold only 7500.
"I love the idea of that," he said. "You shouldn't be afraid of that. This is what you dream of. When you are 12 or 14 years of age you dream about playing for your national team and for a big club in Europe. Now I'm playing for the Norwegian national team and I've also just arrived at one of the biggest clubs in Europe. It can't be much better than that for me. If you are afraid of the crowd then I think you work in the wrong job.
"I hate to lose. I want to win every time. Even a game on my mobile phone . . . Of course, when you come to a club like Celtic it's a big pressure on you. But I'm that kind of person who can deal with pressure. The pressure is what I make it . . . it is not bigger than what I put on myself to succeed.
"I think all of this will inspire me. Just looking around here inspires me. In fact just looking at it on TV inspires me. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To come to a club like Celtic is probably the kind of thing that 100,000 kids dream about, and here I am. This is a chance I need to take. I need to work even harder than I've done until now."
Jostein Flo, the Stromsgodset sporting director, admitted the player would be missed on and off the field. Johansen played 67 times for the club in two years and helped them become Norwegian champions for the first time in 43 years.
"This is our club's biggest sale and, although we cannot reveal the price, we can say we are very pleased," said Flo. "Of course we will miss Stefan but some of this money will ensure we can strengthen the team and continue to build the club. Stromsgodset will be fighting for medals in 2014. This is a good day for Stefan and a great day for Stromsgodset."