CARL STARFELT says that Celtic have proven they have more than one string to their bow as they showed their mettle to see off Hearts on Thursday night.

The Swedish defender put in a colossal performance at the heart of the defence upon his return from injury, and he played a key role in shutting out the visitors in a second half in which they dominated at times.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is famous for his refusal to compromise on his attacking tactics, but Starfelt says that the players are also able to dig out results when they need to.

“You can’t only play one way,” Starfelt said.

“Everyone knows we want to dominate games and have the ball. We want to be in the opponents’ half but sometimes you have to show resistance because you will not dominate the game for 90 minutes. There are times you have to show something else.

“The team is getting more comfortable in the way we are playing. We are getting to know each other better.

“I am not getting carried away with just one performance. I’ll continue to work hard but I think we are all finding a little bit of security in our system and we are on a good run now, so we have to keep enjoying playing football and keep winning games. That’s what we want to do.

“As a defender, you know that the opposition will have chances and against Hearts we were able to resist it. We also had great chances to score more goals.

“I’m more happy with the clean sheet and I think we showed some resistance at the end when they had one or two good chances. But when you face good opponents sometimes they will get chances.

“That’s normal in football.”

Starfelt’s own impressive showing was all the more striking when you consider it was his first game since picking up an injury against Livingston at the end of October, and it was perhaps his best performance since signing for the club from Rubin Kazan in the summer.

In fact, it might well have been one of his finest since he turned professional, as he picked up his first man-of-the-match award.

“I’m happy with that,” he said. “It’s the first man of the match award of my career, so I’m happy.

“You are never 100 percent sure about your fitness when you’ve been out and not played games and not trained so much, but I felt good.

“I found out quite late that I was playing and I don’t think I would have played against Hearts if Cameron (Carter-Vickers) was here, but I was just happy that I could play and help the team get three points on Thursday.”

Starfelt may well have won over a few remaining doubters with that performance, with the defender coming in for some criticism for some rocky showings since being pitched straight into the team on the opening day of the season at Tynecastle.

One thing he has never doubted though is the backing he receives from the Celtic supporters on a matchday, and he is hoping he can now repay that support as he finally finds his feet.

“I think the supporters are absolutely amazing,” he said. “I’ve never experienced anything like it and never seen anything like it. It’s a big honour to go out every game and have a full stadium of 60,000 fans. I’m just really happy to be at this club.

“You get used to it. I’d never played in front of 60,000 before I came here so obviously you are a bit nervous in the first game and it puts pressure on you, but now I am just enjoying it. The games are so much more fun when there are so many people in the stadium.

“Obviously, when I played in Sweden we had a lot of fans and when I went to Russia there were not so many fans. I prefer it with the fans because it affects so many people. You are not only playing for yourself, you are playing for the whole city and you put in an extra shift when you know that, so I prefer that for sure.”