JOZO SIMUNOVIC has not kicked a ball in competitive action since leaving Croatian club HNK Gorica in the summer of 2022.

The 29-year-old central defender has struggled for a permanent home since his release from Celtic at the end of his contract in July two years earlier.

Simunovic made a mere eight appearances for homeland outfit Gorica after being out of the game for over a year.

HAMPDEN HEROES…Scott Brown and Jozo Simunovic show off their medals after the 3-0 League Cup win over Aberdeen in 2016.

The former Under-21 back-four operator, who was brought to Parkhead by ex-boss Ronny Deila in a £4million move from Dinamo Zagreb in September 2015, was jinxed by a persistent knee injury in the later stages of his time in Glasgow.

He turned out only 16 times for the champions in his final campaign before the club decided not to activate the remaining 12 months clause in his contract.

Simunovic won five titles with the Hoops and his final outing came in the home 3-1 Europa League loss to FC Copenhagen on February 27 2020 when he unfortunately gifted the Danes the opening goal with a calamitous back pass just after the interval.

His stay in Glasgow was plagued by injury. He underwent a knee operation and also suffered knee ligament damage when he missed a huge chunk of another season.

Following his departure from the Hoops, Simunovic was linked with Turkish clubs Trabzonspor and Goztepe, but no deals materialised. It was an identical story with Croatia outfit Rijeka.

There were reports Bundesliga duo Stuttgart and Augsburg were showing an interest, but, frustratingly for the player, once again nothing was firmed up.

AIR WE GO…Jozo Simunovic and Nir Bitton combine to repel an Aberdeen raid.

Simunovic, though, did earn a contract with Gorica in October 2021, but, unfortunately, they did not extend the deal beyond the following summer.

Now the former Hoops fans’ favourite doesn’t quite know what the future holds – but he is certain he will stay in football whether as a player or in another capacity.

He is on record as stating: “If I don’t go back to playing, I will stay in football — it’s really all I think about. That could be coaching, agency work or sports management. Let’s see what happens.”

Simunovic still keeps tabs on Celtic and is a regular visitor to Parkhead on match day.

* TOMORROW: Don’t miss the adventures of another former Celt in CQN’s EXCLUSIVE series.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author