CHRISTOPHER JULLIEN has played a mere 16 minutes of first-team football in the past year and a half.

The towering French defender, who cost £7million when he arrived from Toulouse in June 2019, has dropped out of favour after being a regular in Neil Lennon’s line-up.

Jullien collided with a goalpost as he prevented a Dundee United goal in the Hoops’ 3-0 Premiership win at Parkhead on December 30 2020.

The 29-year-old centre-back was stretchered off and had to undergo surgery on cruciate ligament damage.

DOWN AND OUT…a crestfallen Christopher Jullien after his collision with a goalpost in the 3-0 win over Dundee United at Parkhead on December 30 2020.

Jullien’s only appearance since that game has been a cameo role in the Hoops’ 4-0 Scottish Cup victory over Championship outfit Raith Rovers in the east end of Glasgow on February 13 this year.

The player insisted he had been fit and raring to go since the turn of the year, but Ange Postecoglou continued with his preferred double-act of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt with Scotland Under-21 international Stephen Welsh as stand-by.

Jullien, with just one year left on his contract, acknowledges it is now make-or-break time in his Hoops career.

Despite landing Carter-Vickers on a four-year contract, Postecoglou is still actively looking to strengthen his central defence and has been linked with Japanese star Ko Itakura who is on the verge of leaving Manchester City after last season’s successful loan stint at Schalke where he helped them regain Bundesliga status.

EARLY STARTER…Christopher Jullien’s Instagram image as he prepares for a crucial campaign.

However, Jullien has posted a clip to his Instagram wearing Hoops training gear as he prepares for the new campaign ahead of the club’s official return to their Lennoxtown HQ for pre-season training.

It looks as though the back-four performer is out to impress his Greek-Australian gaffer – or, at least, prove his fitness levels to any would-be suitor before the end of the summer transfer deadline on September 1.

Jullien, of course, became a fans’ favourite when he scored the only goal of the League Cup Final against Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side in December 2019.

MATCHWINNER…Christopher Jullien sidefoots in the League Cup clincher on December 8 2019.

HAMPDEN HERO…Christopher Jullien holds aloft the newly-won League Cup.

He was also a stand-out performer as the Hoops claimed their ninth successive title.

One of his last full games for the club was the delayed Scottish Cup Final against Hearts which ended 3-3 after extra-time on December 20 2020. The Hoops claimed their phenomenal quadruple treble 4-3 on penalty-kicks with rookie keeper Conor Hazard the hero with two saves.

Ten days later, Jullen was injured against the Tannadice visitors and has not started a game since.

It’s now or never for the Frenchman.

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