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DEILA’S HOPES FOR SIMUNOVIC AND BOYATA

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CELTIC boss Ronny Deila expects a fully-fit Jozo Simunovic to report back for training after the international break.
And the Norwegian expects the Croatian centre-half to bring out the best in struggling Dedryck Boyata.nv8E2RSfAtlGqPafkPlHgAUw8VKPi2Kgl978844Ormg

Simunovic has gone off on duty for his country, but on the premise that he returns to Lennoxtown should there be any concerns about his ankle.

The player, a £4.4million sighing from Dinamo Zagreb at the end of the transfer window, has been blighted by injury and his involvement in last week’s Europa League game lasted just three minutes.

Simunovic missed Sunday’s 4-1 win over Ross County in Dingwall, but Deila anticipates that the defender will take his place when the Hoops take on Ajax in just over a fortnight’s time.

Deila sais: “A proper look at the injury showed that it was nothing too big which was good news for us.

“Jozo will be back after the time away with the national team.

“He has shown leadership and character when he has played with us and I think we need leaders in this environment.

“Of course, it has been disappointing that we have not been able to see more of him because we would like to have been able to develop a strong partnership with him and Dedryck Boyata, and that takes time.

“Jozo has gone off to join up with Croatia, but he has assured us that if he is not ready to play then he will come back and we trust the medical staff to take care of him.”

And Deila believes that Simunovic will draw the best out of Boyata.

Celtic’s defensive issues have been at the forefront of their inability to make inroads into the Europa League this season and the incessant changing of the back four due to injury issues has not lent itself to a stable backline.
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Deila added: “It is so important that we try and get some consistency now.

“We want the best possible squad and team on the pitch and he is one of those that we put in that category.

“But there is no point in playing people if they are not fit. We need everyone fully fit and ready to give 100 per cent. Hopefully, the international break gives us that chance.”

Skipper Scott Brown is also expected to join full training next week and Deila expects him to be ready when the the club season resumes.

He said: “We are very optimistic that Scott will be fine and will be back after the break.
“Scott is such an important player for us. It will be a big thing for us to get him back in.

“Charlie Mulgrew has a small chance for the end of this month. It is still early days for him and we do not want him to have another setback, so we are taking it slowly but we will see nearer the time if he is going to make it or not.”

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