WHEN Celtic supporters of a certain vintage heard of their latest recruit’s slightly wayward past, including an episode in a nightclub that saw his contract with Legia Warsaw cancelled as a youngster, they may have feared they had another Polish playboy on their hands.

But Patryk Klimala is no Jacki Dziekanowski, surely to the relief of his new fans and, no doubt, the disappointment of many a Glasgow nightclub owner.

While Dziekanowski famously enjoyed the nightlife of his adopted home during his spell here in the late 80s and early 90s, Klimala has learnt from that harsh lesson of his youth, and now prefers a quiet night in with his fiancée Milena and their dog Lambo. Speaking through an interpreter, it was difficult to ascertain whether the pooch was named after a certain former Celtic midfielder.

Nevertheless, Klimala is determined to show that he is 100 percent committed to being a success for the club, and that his nickname of ‘The Devil’ is apt only for the way he terrorises defences, rather than for a mischievous streak away from the game.


“The young life is behind me,” said Klimala, still just 21.

“For the last five years I have been with my fiancee, we have a wee dog and we are planning a family. There will be no discotheques and I’m not planning any drinking sessions!”

The Polish influence at Celtic of course goes beyond Dziekanowski, with Klimala being the eight Pole to have pulled on the green and white jersey, and he is hoping he can lean on some of those players from his homeland for some tips on settling into his new surroundings.

Although, horrifyingly for those older Celtic fans mentioned earlier, he has no recollection of having seen them play.

“I don’t really remember Artur Boruc and Maciej Zurawski but I can watch them on the internet and I know they were good players,” he said.

“I’m planning to try and get in touch with them if I can to help me acclimatise, learn more about Celtic and Scotland.

“Since I arrived, everybody has been so nice to me and I can feel that support.

“I only started learning English maybe two or three months ago. I understand maybe 80-90 percent of what is being said but in terms of communication hopefully I will overcome it soon.”

Celtic supporters will be eagerly awaiting a glimpse of what their new arrival can do, and they may get a chance to in Saturday’s Scottish Cup tie against Partick Thistle at Firhill.

His new teammates have already seen him in action at close quarters though after he trained with the squad on both Tuesday and Wednesday, but while they may have been paying close attention to see what the new kid on the block was all about, Klimala himself had an eye on his captain, whose reputation precedes him even in Poland.

“When I told my team-mates that I was coming to Celtic, there was a lot of talk in the changing room about it,” he said.

“Some of the players showed me some clips of Scott Brown and how aggressive his tackles were. They warned me and asked if I was sure what I was doing!


“Thankfully, I was in his team in training, so he hasn’t tackled me yet.”

On a more serious note, Klimala has been doing his homework on Celtic in general prior to his arrival, and he knows that any grace period may be in short supply from both his manager and the supporters. With a ninth title in a row on the line, it can’t be any other way.

But from what he has seen of his teammates in training so far, he is sure they have the quality to see of the challenge of Rangers and stay on track to rewrite the record books.

“Before I came here, I knew all about the run to this point in the club’s history,” he said.

“There are obviously going to be a lot of challenges.

“But after training for two days, without being over confident, I can see there is a chance to achieve this.

“But it’s going to take a lot of hard work.”

That hard work for Klimala begins with simply earning a place in the starting line-up, and with Odsonne Edouard currently the man occupying the sole striking slot in manager Neil Lennon’s preferred set-up, that will be no mean feat.

He stated prior to his move from Jagiellonia Bialystok that he was only going somewhere where he would be the first-choice striker, but while that is his ultimate goal at Celtic, he stressed that he is willing to be patient to get his chance.

“I’m prepared for a fight but I don’t see Edouard in any shape of form as my enemy,” he said. “Obviously I’m going to fight to get into the team.

“I’m not sure how long it’s going to take. I feel I’m ready for it. I’m prepared for gradual progress to the main team.

“I’m ready to fight for a spot in the team.”

Intriguingly, Klimala feels that Lennon may actually now have the option of going with two up front, believing that while his best position is as a main striker, he is also more than capable of working alongside and complementing Edouard.

“If I’m going to play alongside him, I’ll support him,” he said.

“If I’m going to be on the bench, I’ll still do my best for the team when I get the chance to play.

“Whatever is best for the team, I will adjust.”