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Jul 20, 2010

Mexico star Juarez 'excited' by Celtic switch

Mexico international Efrain Juarez has described his move to Celtic as the "best decision" he could have made this summer.

Juarez, 22, has joined the SPL club from Pumas UNAM and represents something of a coup for Celtic given he started three games for Mexico in their run to the World Cup second round, including the 3-1 defeat to Argentina that ended their campaign in South Africa.

The former Barcelona youngster briefly linked up with his new team-mates during their pre-season trip to the USA and cannot wait to begin his career in Scotland once his work permit is granted.

"I'm so happy and excited because I had my first contact with the team, with the coaching staff, and they are as excited as I am," Juarez said. "I was with them for practically the whole day. I went to the friendly match and watched from the bench.

"(Joining Celtic) is the best decision I could have taken because the team has given me all the confidence (I need) and my aim is to help keep the club up there in the position it belongs.

"The coach, Neil Lennon, is a great guy - a great person who welcomed me from the first moment, spoke to me and made me aware of what he wants from me. I am very grateful because they have welcomed me with open arms.

"As soon as I get the work permit, I will join up with the team in Scotland. I hope to travel on Wednesday or Thursday."

Juarez could taste his first action in a Celtic strip on Saturday against Lincoln, when Lennon will supplement a young squad with several first-team members.

Fellow newcomers Daryl Murphy and Cha Du-Ri are also set to feature against a side managed by former Celtic striker Chris Sutton, while Aiden McGeady hopes to return from the thigh injury that kept him out of the North American tour.

The match will offer Lennon the opportunity to bed players in before the first leg of the crucial Champions League third-round qualifier against Sporting Braga.

Lennon added: "First of all, it will be great to come up against Chris again, who I know is looking forward to the occasion as well. And it will be a good test for us as we continue to build up to the match with Braga. It will also be really valuable as I will be able to give guys like Aiden and Daryl, who did not play in North America, some playing time.

"And, if possible, I am hoping to give Efrain a game just to get him on the pitch and get a bit more familiar with it all.''

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