Simunovic, the stats don’t lie


It was good to see Jozo Simunovic return to the starting line-up on Sunday. He is every inch the player we hoped he would be when he joined from Dimano Zagreb two years ago, but that was in doubt as recently as August last year, when Celtic allowed the player to travel to Italy to secure his exit from the club.

That month he and, then injured, Dedryck Boyata were well out of the picture as Celtic played their most important games of the season. Against Hapoel Be’re Shiva in the Champions League play-off round, we played Toure and O’Connell in central defence at home, with Toure and Lustig in the middle for the crucial game in Israel.

The earlier round against Astana saw O’Connell pair with Lustig in one game and Ambrose in the other. When you consider Saidy Janko started two of those four games, you appreciate how far we’ve come defensively in six months. Would you bet on Celtic to qualify for the Champions League with a defence drawn from that pool? I wouldn’t.

Dundee’s spectacular goal on Sunday (through no fault of Jozo’s) was only the second goal we’ve conceded with the Croat on the field since Dundee last scored against us. The defender aided Celtic to six clean sheets in seven games in that time.

We’ve now conceded once in each of our last three games, if Jozo remains fit, he’ll tidy up that statistic.


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  1. MWD



    I suppose I retain a pygmy marmoset`s gonad of interest in the RSFA national team in the occasional game but that interest is without passion. My support of `Scotland` is confined to usually wanting some individuals to win in their chosen field…….particularly if they are Celtic supporters and certainly not if they are Huns .





  2. Just wish he was able to play more often . Can’t mind big billy getting rested as much . And BTW I wouldn’t drop boyata . This se two would be my centre backs . Unless we’ve identified better .

  3. VFR800 is now a Monster 821 on

    BARNEY67 on 22ND MARCH 2017 12:09 PM



    Toure is ably assisting the management team as far as I’m told. I won’t be surprised if he gets another year or a coaching role. Word is that he love sit here!





  4. I agree that Jozo and Dedryck are our first choice pairing but Erik does not let us down. He is a no nonsense defender where the other two are of the footballing type. From the start, I feel many have had their doubts concerning Erik because he is `too small`. I do not subscribe to that view and feel we are well placed in the central defensive positions.



  5. It is my perennial nightmare that we start each qualifying campaign with an untried defensive partnership.



    Now, we have Craig Gordon plus a settled defence of Jozo and Dedryck, all under longish term contracts, with backup from Eric and Kolo which should leave us in the best position for many years for the qualifiers.



    The foundations of this were laid by signing Jozo and Dedryck on 4 year contracts. Now we have a manager who is building on these foundations



    If Celtic put me through another Hapoel Be’re Shiva experience, I am chucking it!

  6. Big Jozo plays with his head, first and foremost. Sort of defender you can see thinking at every beat. Pretty decent when stepping out with the ball too. Fitness the main worry.



    Jozo and A.N.Other for me – Erik for his solidity and brains, or Boyata for his added attacking threat – bhoy’s won us a few points. Saw nothing wrong with young O’Connell’s european performances either, under real pressure.

  7. VFR800 is now a Monster 821 on

    I concur that Jozo and Dedryck are our best pairing; I also feel that Erik is a weak link and his inferior positional sense is what causes issues – often the other CB is trying to cover for him.



    Simunovic has been nursed back from injury and played in gently; I would be delighted to see him and Boyata as our fixed partnership from now till the end of the season (on 27th May).





  8. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on

    David Narey and Willie Miller would be two of Scotland’s greatest ever central defenders.



    For Celtic I’d say Marc Rieper was up there, John Kennedy had the world at his feet.



    Ireland – Paul McGrath without a doubt.



    It would be difficult to beat Italy though -geniuses like Baresi, Maldini, Nesta etcetera.




  9. Jozo’s the best we have at centre back.It’s him and A.N.Other for me,he’s the best defender and ball player of all our central defenders.


    I’m hoping Brendan brings at least one new face in at centre back this summer,to partner Jozo.




    With regards to David Rockerfeller,to receive a heart transplant do you not need to possess a heart to begin with?

  10. Late in the day, but condolences to TD67 on the loss of his wee mum. Still remember mine and still love her to bits.


    In the outside world, Ireland has lost a great man. Along with Brian Keenan, he was a man I would have walked to Hell for and kicked down the walls. Martin McGuinness is in the Pantheon with Mick Collins,Wolfe Tone, and history will see him as the man he was. Tebbit? Typical Brit loudmouth. Anyone who calls Martin McGuinness a coward does not know the meaning of hero.

  11. My Sincere Condolences to Tony Donnelly and his Family – May Your Mother R.I.P.






    It is my belief that we brought Erik in to cover CD position due to injuries, predominantly to Jozo.



    He’s done an excellent Job but if we can get Jozo fully fit he’s our go to guy for the UCL from my point of view.



    With Toure’s vast experience, I think we are in a great position going forward in what was a Problem area.



    Now – Defensive mid… That has caused no shortage of heartache – would like to see Brendan weave some of his Magic there.



    Hail Hail

  12. King David and I are just awesome.



    It was obviously my greatest achievement in life to meet King David in person. He is the one true special one. When our eyes first met after I moved from sitting directly in front of him to the corner of the room to sit in his sight line my heart melted. His eyes, ram those great perfect eyes portrayed his superiority, honesty, dignity and integrity. I will speak this evening with Archbishop Phil when I attend my men’s prayer meeting about canonising King David in life.



    I was so moved when King David asked to my wallet to reorganise it for me. I feel so much lighter in my step now.



    King David also informed me that he has agreed to accomodate my chapel request. He has subscribed for me, to a magazine that informs the reader of the history of chapels and enclosed weekly over 156 weeks is a piece of chapel to build a magnificent chapel in the stadium John Brown played for.



    Since my arrival at the Champions of Europe Elect in my time visiting you all here on your second rate fan site I have been swayed by the debate around video refereeing. I discussed this with King David this morning and you will be delighted to know that after a quick conference call with Stewart Reagan, Neil Doncaster and John Flemming, that video refereeing and a panel of referees will be in place for season 2017/2018 starting. It will also be trailed at the Scottish Cup semi final. All parties agreed that Rangers Now Then Forever TV will provide and manage this on a 20 year contract. Rangers Now Then Forever TV will provide the panel of three who will decide on penalties, red cards, goals etc from a group consisting of x referees and the 108 EBT recipients. With Rangers Now Then Forever TV being the independent body entrusted to take on this role each club will pay it 50% of their annual profits with the exception of The Champions of Europe Elect who will pay in £0 and your club of little consequence who will pay 90% of annual profit to cover running costs. Once found to be perfect this model will be sold to UEFA via Hugh Dallas and Campbell Ogilvie.



    King David thanks you all for your endeavours, ideas etc but ultimately understands that this greatest TV video refereeing system will be wholly profitable to King David. All profits from the scheme will be reinvested in King David’s investment portfolio for the future of his children and The Champions of Europe Elect.



    I’m now off to share my lunch with King David. I believe he has insisted on eating my lunch after it has been paid for. I believe we are eating in the Louden Tavern were the finest meals are created in it’s 5 star eatery. This will also allow King David an audience with the Sports Media of Scotland who will be handed answered to their questions in advance.



    I hope you all have a great day just like I am having the greatest day ever had by man. I know that is impossible with you being lesser lowly club fans but I will think of you and pray that you each see the light of King David the one true Saint.

  13. On the Rockefeller Stories…



    Back in the day Aul JD Snr goes into a new tailor, it has been recommended by JD Jnr.



    He looks out his usual Fabric



    Tailor: You may want to look at this one…



    JD: Looks expensive



    Tailor: It is but it’s the best, it’s the Fabric your Son uses…



    JD: Ah, Yes but you see, he has a rich Father…



    Hail Hail

  14. Jozo was brilliant at the weekend, particularly first half, thought he was a touch rash in the second half but that can be put down to tiredness. He has many qualities to be admired, particularly, he is very aggressive in the way he attacks the ball. His passing is excellent with either foot and he is good as setting the tempo, when he receives the ball he knows what he is going to do with it and understands that given the nature of the way we play he needs to do it quickly, that’s an area he excels over Erik. Positionally very good also. I think Boyata is more settled when playing with him too. Defensively we were average at the beginning of the season up until the Man City 3-3 match, the next match after Jozo played at Dens, he was superb that day and we never looked back up until the last few weeks, when he has been absent we have been shaky. I posit the Huns game fiasco wouldn’t have played out the way it did had he been involved. My first prediction after that match was that he would be reinstated. He has that old fashioned Italian style about him, if you leave one on him you know it’s coming back. So anyway as you can see, i quite like him!

  15. Of our current central defenders I prefer the Jozo and Erik partnership, although I would like us to sign someone in the summer as first choice to play beside Jozo for next season. Erik and/or Dedryck as back up with maybe Ajer becoming part of the first team squad.

  16. MACJAY1 FOR NEIL LENNON on 22ND MARCH 2017 3:26 AM


    MARGARET MCGILL on 22ND MARCH 2017 2:19 AM







    Without reservation.



    I suggested some time ago that the Celtic Trust should be running with this issue. (SFA/Referee reform.)



    A guaranteed way of promoting the issue and at the same time promoting themselves.




    I sometimes wonder what effect the ref`s wee earphones have on decisions.



    What purpose do they serve ,if not to pass info to the ref.




    I have always suspected the wee Collum`s unsighted penalty decision was relayed to him through his earphone.



    Just a suspicion.




    One of the complaints being made about Res12 is that too many supporters of Celtic and other clubs are unaware of the issue (to which LNS deception can be added and the UEFA licence issue was being pressed from too narrow a base ie a small number acting on behalf of signatories to the Resolution although a greater number, but still limited, had taken an interest.



    There were reasons at the time for this approach which could now be called fact finding to see if questions could be answered that removed or justified suspicions.



    Consequencestly, although both CST and CSA got occasional update it was not the time to involve either.



    However the fact finding is over and questions still remain unanswered and since getting answers would go a long way to establishing a more professional SFA and referee service it is time that groups representing the wider support do get involved.



    Efforts are being made to that end because the fact finding is over, the case has been handed over to Celtic and the justice clock is ticking iro the Supreme Court Decision* being made public and the Craig Whyte trial reaching a conclusion.



    * It is possible that on the ebt issue the SC will find for BDO and the legal argument based on the lawfulness of ebts used by LNS to say no sporting advantage will stand. There has to be a position on that, unwelcome as it might be in terms of title stripping but one that does not ignore the unlawful DOS ebts and more important how their nature was kept from LNS.



    However if the SC rule for HMRC then there will be an almighty hoo ha there and any decision Celtic reach on their position has to take into account the feelings of the wider support and how else can they get that than from recognised supporter groups and how better than through the Supporters Forum channel that was voted through at last AGM under another Resolution 12 even if on a need to know basis?



    There is plenty of material that ought to become useable after both court matters are settled that will influence feelings, but in order to be ready for those days a bit of thought needs to be put into what might emerge and how it can be dealt with in a manner that is acceptable across the majority of the Celtic support and you are right, by getting involved both CSA and CST will be promoting themselves.

  17. !!Bada Bing!! on

    I think Jozo may be in the shop window, playing 3 games out of 5, not great for team building.

  18. TET @ 1:45



    Based on his performances, so far, I’m afraid I don’t agree that Erik would be suited to a defensive mid-field role. At least not in domestic fixtures, when we almost invariably enjoy so much possession and territorial advantage.



    Although it might just be possible to coach this into him, I think Erik very much prefers to operate ‘facing the play’. Charlie Mulgrew was similar: is too slow to turn and can be caught in possession.



    I like Erik a lot: he’s strong, reads the game superbly, is a communicator and encourager, but not a mid-fielder …




  19. BABASONICOS71 on

    As we are all aware,any player playing in midfield has to know how to midfield properly,you know,’our midfield has to midfield’ to paraphrase a Sevconian.As long as our midfield is midfielding then we’ll be ok in midfield.


    So the question is:can Erik midfield?



    FIFE ;)))

  20. This was the news headlines on breakfast television in Toronto this morning. A wee FYI about Brampton, it was for many years predominately british with a wee smattering of Dutch and Portuguese (Azores) but now the demographics at the last census (2011) indicate 40% South Asian, 14% Black with around a10% mix of Philippine, Chinese, Arab, Japanese, Korean etc.



    Interesting how many parents want their weans to attend “Faith” schools and this is common in the Greater Toronto Area.



    This is also common in other parts of Canada as well as the USA. And yet, in a wee country where the majority of its citizens don’t have the common sense/gumption to rule themselves as they still think britannia rules the waves they have a concern over “Faith” schools. Actually I blame the schools there.



    More than 100 parents lined up for hours in the freezing cold overnight in the hopes of registering their children at a Brampton Catholic high school.



    The school, Cardinal Ambrozic Catholic Secondary School, accepts students in Grade 9 from Catholic elementary and middle schools in its catchment area, but it has 85 spots for students from outside the catchment area.



    Parents waited for hours, some since Tuesday afternoon, to secure those spots for their children. Eighty-five children were registered by parents in line, while 50 children were put on the school’s waiting list.


    When interviewed outside, parents told CBC Toronto that it’s the best school in the area. They say it has a good reputation, good teachers and a good program.



    Raj Walia, a parent who was first in the long line, said he had waited since 12 noon on Tuesday.


    “Kids are telling me they have the best program, the best school facility. They like the teachers. They have a good reputation on the market,” he said.



    Ruby Dhaliwal, another parent in line, agreed.



    “It’s well organized. I like it because of the uniform. Parents are willing to wait if they can get their kid into a good school,” she said.



    Many brought folding chairs and blankets to make the wait more comfortable at the school, 10 Castle Oaks Crossing, near Castlemore Road and The Gore Road.



    Raj Basra, who was trying to secure a spot for her son, said her father-in-law started waiting at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. She and he took turns waiting in the “very cold” weather.



    “It’s a good school. And we want to give my son the best chance that we can,” she said. “It’s what we do for our kids.”



    At 6:30 a.m., there were 120 parents outside the school, which is part of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.



    Robin Nayyar, who wanted to register his daughter, said “nobody deserves to be out in the cold all night like that” but his daughter really wanted to get in so he waited.



    “Hopefully, we will make it,” he said.

  21. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    Was a wee bit surprised when Brendan brought on Eric instead of LG on Sunday and went with 5 at the back when we were 2 -1 up. OK, we were under pressure at the time , but would bet say 3 or 4 months ago before we were so far into this unbeaten run he would definitely have brought on another attacker. Suspect one of the reasons we looked nervous is that in spite of his best efforts to remain calm BR is also getting nervous. Inevitable really, he knows that if we go thru the season unbeaten he could create a record that will never be beaten.

  22. Toure hasn’t worked out well longer term but I suppose he came in to shore things up, helped us into the CL so anything else was a bonus.

  23. Geordie Munro on




    To be fair to Toure, he had a mare against the Germans and hasn’t had a look in since.



    Imo he was pretty OK till then.




  24. Geordie Munro on

    I do agree though. Anything else was a bonus.



    Definite buzz about signing him at the time which gave a wee boost imo




  25. Jungle vip


    That’s what makes football such a great game, we both watch the same thing and see it totally different :-)




    I see there has been an ” incident ” in London, they should just ask the smsm for info, they will tell it like it is, a big boy done it and ran away, or tried to.

  26. Apologises if this has already been posted ?


    CELTIC have strongly criticised plans to ban parking within a mile of Parkhead on match days, saying it is neither “appropriate or workable”.



    The club said it has “serious concerns” about the Glasgow City Council plans and have assured fans that “we will be doing all we can to ensure the club’s voice is heard”.



    The council has also been in discussion with Rangers about banning parking on some streets around Ibrox on match days.



    As with the plans for Ibrox, any new restrictions would come into force three hours before games and one hour after they have finished and would come in in August, the start of the 2017/2018 football season.

  27. Guys,



    I always thought that Kolo Toure was signed for much more than a few games on the park. I hope he will exert Influence for a long time.




  28. Breaking news…



    A police officer has been stabbed in the Houses of Parliament in central London, Commons Leader David Lidington has said.


    He told MPs the “alleged assailant was shot by armed police” following a “serious” incident.


    Staff inside Parliament were told to stay inside their offices.


    The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg said police told her someone had been shot and MPs said they heard “three or four gunshots”.


    Tom Peck, political editor for the Independent, tweeted: “There was a loud bang. Screams. Commotion. Then the sound of gunshots. Armed police everywhere.”


    Prime Minister Theresa May was seen being ushered into a silver Jaguar car as what sounded like gunfire rang out at Parliament during the incident.


    A Downing Street source confirmed that Prime Minister Theresa May was “OK”.


    Scotland Yard said it was called to a firearms incident on Westminster Bridge amid reports of several people injured.


    Transport for London said Westminster underground station has been shut at the police’s request.


    Mr Lidington said: “It seems that a police officer has been stabbed, that the alleged assailant was shot by armed police.


    “An air ambulance is currently attending the scene to remove the casualties.


    “There are also reports of further violent incidents in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster but I hope colleagues on all sides will appreciate that it’d be wrong of me to go into further details until we have confirmation from the police and from the House security authorities about what is going on.”


    An eye witness, Radoslaw Sikorski, a senior fellow at Harvard’s Centre for European Studies, posted a video to Twitter purporting to show people lying injured in the road on Westminster Bridge.


    He wrote: “A car on Westminster Bridge has just mowed down at least 5 people.”

  29. Someone has injured possibly at least 12 people with a car on Westminster bridge, London and stabbed a policeman.


    The assailant has allegedly been shot by Police.

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