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.