NEIL Lennon sanctioned some seriously good signings during his previous stint as Celtic manager. Victor Wanyama for £900,000 from Germinal Beerschot? Don’t mind if I do. There was the daylight robbery of acquiring Kris Commons from Derby County for a cut-price £300,000, the deep dive which allowed them to find a young Aussie called Tom Rogic at Central Coast Mariners for £400,000.

Then there is the one which tops the lot. The Northern Irishman vividly recalls watching an imperious display from a 22-year-old central defender called Virgil van Dijk for Groningen with a price tag of just £2.6m and wondering what the catch was.

A track record which has come back into sharp focus upon Lennon’s sudden return to the club, you need only mention the names Derk Boerrigter and Amido Balde as reminders that there were some failures too.

On the face of it, Teemu Pukki – a 23-year-old striker plucked from German outfit Schalke for a fee in the region of £3m in August 2013 – deserves to be mentioned on this list too. When he left the club in August 2014 – his initial loan spell at Brondby but would be converted to a cut price deal in the region of £500,000 the following season – rightly or wrongly Pukki had earned the tabloid terminology of ‘Finnish flop’.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Scott McDonald fitter now than when Celtic beat AC Milan, says Gary Caldwell

He scored nine goals in 38 appearances in all, eventually shown the door by his fellow Scandinavian Ronny Deila, having never quite proven to be the replacement for Gary Hooper which his previous manager hoped he might be. Yet Pukki may just be about to prove everyone wrong.

Now 28, having re-found his confidence in a prolific spell in Denmark, Pukki went into last weekend as the top scorer in all four of the English leagues, a key part of Daniel Farke’s Norwich City side which currently have established a four-point lead on everyone else to reach the promised land of the FA Premier League. Norwich are the top scorers in the division and Pukki has 24 of them, not to mention ten assists. When you throw in one in the EFL Cup, and three in the colours of his country, each of them enough to seal 1-0 Nations League wins – twice against near neighbours Estonia – this is a remarkable story of redemption.

Mixu Paatelainen, who gave Pukki his international debut and stuck with him throughout his travails at Parkhead, isn’t as surprised as some of us by this turn of events. He is convinced that only a lack of time at the club – and the stiff competition offered by the likes of Commons, Giorgos Samaras and Anthony Stokes at a title-winning Celtic side – stopped him attaining his goals in Glasgow.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Aberdeen's Shay Logan dressed in full Celtic kit by pals for stag do

“Celtic was still quite early doors in Teemu’s career,” says Paatelainen. “He had been at Sevilla as a youth player, got his schooling there, gone back to Finland, then went to Schalke where he had played quite brightly already.

“But it is difficult going to a club like Celtic when you are still quite a young player and you have to displace established players to get a place in the team on a regular basis," he added. "It wasn’t a successful time for him there but sometimes that happens. It doesn’t mean someone should be considered a flop or a failure. He has proved that ever since.

“Teemu went to Brondby and scored lots and lots of goals over there, every season. That is where he got his move to Norwich and now he is showing what he can do.

“I don’t think it is fair to say that he couldn’t handle the pressure of being at a big club at Celtic – because he had already been with Schalke and Sevilla, both big clubs with big name players.

“As far as his personality goes, he is not a strong voice in the dressing room, he does his own business, is a good lad and a model professional. But he is not a very strong character who runs the show so going to the Celtic dressing room with very strong characters that might have affected Teemu’s personality and confidence a little bit.

“But I am very sure that if he had stayed longer at Celtic, he would have scored goals for them. Sometimes you get that sticky spell. For some reason or another, things don’t always run smoothly.

“Teemu has always been very light on his feet, always very capable of getting in behind defences. His instincts inside the box are sound and he has always been a very good finisher. So I am not surprised at all he is doing so well. Because he has done it before.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Graeme Shinnie joining Rangers would be a brave move - and make him an Aberdeen hate figure

“I’ve not been down to watch Norwich this season but I have seen him on TV plenty of times and he has been looking really bright. He is a more than capable striker. He is good at getting in behind and causing lots of problems.

With an international record of 15 goals in 70 caps – including a famous equaliser in a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw in Spain – Paatelainen sees no reason why he can’t go on to score goals in the Premier League if Norwich make it back there this season.

Not to mention upsetting the applecart against Scotland in the potential Nations League semi-final play-off between the two teams in March 2020 in the not entirely unlikely event that neither team makes it to Euro 2020 by conventional means. Rangers’ Glen Kamara is another UK-based Finn who could feature in that one.

“He scored against Spain for us, we drew in Spain in a 1-1 World Cup qualifier,” said Paatelainen. “So he can score on the big occasions, no question at all. His pace and ability allows him to do that. He plays on that last shoulder.

“Can he score in the Premier League?” Paatelainen added. “For me, yes. He is a quick player who likes to run in behind, so he is made for counter attacking tactics. I assume that if Norwich can manage to go up thus year Daniel will stick with him and he will be very useful for counter attacking tactics. He is certainly not fazed by playing against big teams.”