AN emotional Josip Juranovic bade farewell to Celtic after his £10million switch to Bundesliga side Union Berlin at the weekend.
The Croatian World Cup right-back made a huge impression on the champions during his 18-month stay following his £2.5million arrival from Legia Warsaw.
And it’s obvious the club and the Hoops support had an equally important part to play on his soccer journey that now takes the 27-year-old defender to Germany.
Juranovic said goodbye as he posted a lengthy thank-you to all at Parkhead, on and off the field.
Ange Postecoglou gave the transfer his blessing and paid his own tribute to what the player had contributed in a monumental season at Celtic when the slump from the previous campaign was turned around in spectacular fashion.
Juranovic was involved in the 3-0 win over Giovanni van Bronckorst’s Ibrox side in the east end of Glasgow on an unforgettable evening of February 2 last year when the team soared back to the Premiership pinnacle for the first time in 18 months.
The team never looked back after that highly significant result with Reo Hatate firing in a double and Liel Abada claiming the other in a whirlwind first-half that swept the opposition towards oblivion.
Juranovic dominated one of the Govan side’s dangermen, Ryan Kent, who had enjoyed a measure of success against the Hoops in previous encounters.
The club reacted to that display by uploading a highlight reel to Instagram soundtracked to Pitbull’s “fireball”.
The 27 times-capped international star referenced that in a social media post as he said his goodbyes to the champions.
NO WAY THROUGH…Josip Juranovic blocks off Ryan Kent in the 3-0 triumph in February last year.
He said: “What can I say…what a memorable 18 months at Celtic. My family and I will always remember every part of that journey.
“Thank you for making this a special time for us. Sharing the dressing room with so many amazing teammates in this short period of time was unforgettable experience!
“It was my pleasure working with manager, coaches and staff members. Big thanks to the fans. Each and every one of you made me feel special.
“Fireball will be always close to my heart! Glasgow will always be GREEN AND WHITE! Once a CELT, always a CELT.”
Preparing for Juranovic’s exit, Postecoglou moved swiftly to sign Canadian right-back Alistair Johnston who was also a star performer during the soccer showpiece in Qatar.
Celtic paid £3.5million to land the 24-year-old determined defender from MLS club CF Montreal last month and he made his debut in the 2-2 draw at Ibrox on January 2, only 24 hours after his international clearance had come through.
And, so, as one career in the hoops comes to an end, another begins.