Norwich City’s Russell Martin - Grant Holt goal against Celtic almost inevitable
Defender Russell Martin admitted a goal from skipper Grant Holt was almost inevitable as Norwich City pulled off a notable pre-season victory over Celtic at Parkhead.
Holt struck in the 89th minute at Parkhead last night to secure a 1-0 win over the Scottish champions in the return friendly fixture, following Adam Drury's testimonial at Carrow Road back in May.
Martin said it was important that triple player of the season winner Holt, whose future with the club was in doubt when he submitted a transfer request at the end of last season, and City supporters could together put the past behind them and look forward to a new Premier League campaign.
'The big man's back. All that went on in the summer is in the past now,' said the Scotland international.
'He's here to stay and he's done what he does best tonight – he scores goals. The fans were cheering his name afterwards and as long as he carries on doing that all season we'll be fine.'
Martin was given a longer than expected run-out against the Hoops when fellow right-back and Scotland team-mate Steven Whittaker suffered an ankle injury midway through the first half.
His extended slice of the action gave him another opportunity to impress new manager Chris Hughton and watching Scots boss Craig Levein.
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'Most of them still don't know who I am up here so it's a good opportunity for me to show what I can do and I think the Scotland manager was here tonight,' said Martin.
'Every game you go into you try to do well. I got a bit longer than I expected tonight because Whitts has taken a knock, but nothing too serious.
'He felt all right as soon as he got up but when he tried to run on it that was it.
'He's rolled his ankle and it's a little bit sore but hopefully he gets the swelling down tonight and gets it straight on the ice machine so he'll be back in a few days. 'I feel fairly fit so to get 70 minutes or so was good for me and I'll probably be feeling it a bit tomorrow. But we've got a day off to recover and straight back out for a double session on Thursday. 'It's tough the first few weeks of pre-season but the lads know what they're going to get, and tonight you saw them getting a little bit sharper.
'We're short of match practice but the more we get against good opposition like this, the better – we've got a tough schedule so it will be great for the lads.'
Martin said City were delighted with the victory, albeit in a friendly.
'It's a fantastic stadium to play in and it's always nice to come to clubs like this and a stage like this to play a friendly when you can kind of enjoy it a little bit – no pressure, it's a training and fitness exercise, really, but to come away with a win is always a nice feeling, especially this early in pre-season' he said.
'It went well and it was a bit sharper than the other day in Austria as well. It's still only our second game of pre-season, so Celtic are quite a bit further on than us in terms of fitness. It was a real good exercise.'
Hughton concurred when he said: 'It was certainly a good run-out because we knew coming into this game we were probably two weeks behind Celtic in our pre-season with them having a Champions League game on the horizon. We knew it would be a tough one and it was no surprise to us that they had a fair amount of possession – which we expected – but I was delighted what I saw over the 90 minutes. We made a lot of changes again but we were always able to carry that threat. As a team we had to defend as well so that was pleasing.'