A year ago today, Christopher Jullien left the pitch at an empty Celtic Park on a stretcher. The Frenchman was involved in a horrible collision with the frame of the goal as Celtic beat Dundee United.
In the 3-0 win, the French defender rushed towards the goal and slid in to make a goal-saving clearance but was left grounded when his knee collided with the base of the post. The horror smash saw the central defender stretchered off. After that, in the midst of a painful recovery, he was embroiled in the Dubai-COVID affair after testing positive. It has been a horrible year for the 28-year-old with a number of setbacks adding to his return to fitness.
The defender returned to France to begin his rehabilitation from a knee injury suffered at the end of 2020. He was a big miss for spells last year and we can only hope that his imminent return will be a boost to the team. Now, after a full year out, Jullien will be like a new signing returning to the first team.
Ange Postecoglou will need to get the player familiar with his style of play and the winter break offers the best opportunity for Jullien to get integrated fully into the Australians way of thinking. The preferred defensive pairing has been Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt with Stephen Welsh filling in at intervals. However, Jullien’s return offers the manager a good defensive headache.
Carter-Vickers is said to be keen on remaining at Celtic beyond his loan period with the club also up for exercising the option to buy on the Tottenham star. Starfelt, meanwhile, has impressed in parts since arriving from Rubin Kazan in the summer. The Swede has struggled at times but the option of another quality defender will give Postecoglou the ability to rotate his pack.
Jullien, who arrived from Toulouse in the summer of 2019 in a deal worth £7m, has made 61 appearances for the club, netting 10 times and providing 4 assists. He scored two vital goals in 2019, a late winner versus Lazio as well as the only goal in the League Cup win over theRangers.