JEREMY TOLJAN was heralded as an “inspired” loan signing by Brendan Rodgers on the last day of the January 2019 transfer window.
The Borussia Dortmund right-back agreed a short-term deal until the end of the season as the Celtic boss searched for an alternative for Mikael Lustig with teenage Anthony Ralston deemed too young after his early introduction to first-team football.
Toljan arrived with a solid reputation and made his debut as a second-half substitute two days after touching down in Glasgow. He played in a 2-0 win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park and looked a tidy enough defender who was clearly comfortable on the ball.
Unfortunately, Toljan’s actual ability to dig in and win tackles wasn’t too evident and some clumsy challenges led to a first-half red card in a 1-0 Europa League loss in Valencia to crash out of the competition on a 3-0 aggregate.
ON THE BALL…Jeremy To;jan in action in Celtic’s 2-1 win over Hearts at Tynecastle on February 27 2019.
The club’s defeat and the player’s dismissal came on the evening of February 21 – remarkably Rodgers left the Hoops for Leicester City only five days later.
Replacement Neil Lennon continued with Toljan in his comeback game against Hearts at Tynecastle 24 hours later before removing him late in the game with Lustig coming on. The veteran Swede more or less kept the No.2 berth for the remainder of a treble-winning campaign.
The loanee started only 10 games and made four substitute appearances before he returned to his Bundesliga club.
Toljan, now 31, joined Serie A outfit Sassuolo on loan for two seasons and signed a permanent deal in 2021.
* TOMORROW: Don’t miss the adventures of another former Celt in CQN’s EXCLUSIVE series.