CELTIC will resist the temptation to rush back Jozo Simunovic to the first team for the Champions League qualifiers next month.
The Croatian Under-21 international centre-back, bought from Dinamo Zagreb for £5million last summer, hasn’t played since January after surgery on a knee injury.
Simunovic’s debut campaign hardly got off the ground and fellow-central defender Dedryck Boyata, bought from Manchester City for £1million, also suffered problems. Both missed the first day’s training at Lennoxtown.
First team coach John Kennedy admitted: “Jozo has a bit of work to do and Dedryck was scanned. Hopefully, he’s not too bad. We’ll monitor them over a few weeks.
“It’s hard to say if they will play in the qualifiers. Jozo might take a bit longer than Dedryck, but we want everyone back fit as soon as possible.
“We want to make sure he’s right and if we have to give him a few more weeks then we’ll do it. We don’t want to set him back for longer again as he’s had a tough enough time of it.
“We have a big squad to deal with it so it’s not a problem.”
Meanwhile, Kennedy has also revealed that contract negotiations are ongoing with Charlie Mulgrew.
The versatile Scotland internationalist was not at Lennoxtown yesterday, but talks are continuing about his immediate future.
Kennedy added: “His representatives and the club are in negotiations and I think that’s where we’re at, Charlie wasn’t here today as he’s not under contract.”