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RISE AND SHINE, JULLIEN

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FALL GUY Christopher Jullien rose to the occasion last night as Celtic eased into the second round of the Champions League qualifiers with a 6-0 romp over KR Reykjavik at Parkhead.

The towering French defender thundered in a spectacular header from an exquisite Ryan Christie left-wing corner-kick to claim the third goal on the half-hour mark as the Hoops routed the Icelanders.

Nine days earlier, Jullien had come in for some ferocious criticism after a nervy display in the 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park as the champions shed two points in their bid for the historic 10 in a row.

The centre-back, who had been ragdolled by bustling Nicke Kabamba for most of an uncomfortable afternoon in Ayrshire, compounded the performance by gifting Killie the equaliser via the penalty spot which was tucked beyond new Bhoy Vaslis Barkas by Chris Burke.

After the showing, Neil Lennon admitted the player can be a slow burner in terms of gearing himself for the months ahead. The gaffer made a valid point that it had been the same last year following his £7million arrival from Toulouse when he failed to hit the ground running in the early days.

Before his stunning header, Jullien had helped set the Celts on their way with an excellent long-range diagonal pass that allowed Mohamed Elyounoussi to score the first of his two goals in six minutes to settle any pre-match nerves.

Lennon, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I thought Chris was excellent. You saw what he is good at.

“Not only did he set up the first goal, he goes and attacks to score a great goal from a corner.

“That is what he gives to the team and, when he is doing that, I know he is sort of getting there now in terms of full fitness.

“I thought, defensively, he looked a lot more like himself, which I felt he would do. The more he plays, the better he gets. He can be delighted.”

THE JOY OF SIX

 
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