Defender Set for Celtic Contract Talks after Returning from Injury Hell

Jozo Simunovic is set to hold contract talks with Neil Lennon as he looks to extend his stay in Glasgow beyond this summer.

The Croatian defender, who returned to action on Wednesday following a knee injury, has just six months remaining on his current deal – albeit with the club retaining an option for a further twelve months taking Simunovic to the Summer of 2021.

The 25-year-old was signed from Dinamo Zagreb in 2015 following Virgil Van Dijk’s move to Southampton. However Simunovic has suffered with a number of injuries since swapping his native Croatia for Glasgow’s East End.

Simunovic, as reported by the Daily Record, was adamant to prove his worth to Neil Lennon that he was willing to put himself through playing on a plastic pitch, something that he hasn’t done in over two years.

“I hadn’t played on plastic since a game against Hamilton in 2017 so psychologically it was a big thing.

“But I’ve been out for months so I was desperate to play – I’d have played on concrete if I had to!

“I had a good conversation with the manager before the game and told him I wanted to play.

“I had a good conversation with the manager before the game and told him I wanted to play.”

Simunovic revealed his disappointment that he couldn’t repay manager Neil Lennon for his initial trust when he took over from Brendan Rodgers. The Croatian spoke about how tough it was for him to sit on the sidelines with another injury,

“It has been hard being away from the team, it always is. I had an operation to clean out my knee.

“It was frustrating because the manager put a lot of trust in me when he came in at the end of last season but these are things I cannot control.

“It was just time and we decided to have the op at the end of August, so now hopefully everything is fine.

“And Wednesday was a good test. Everything was fine after the game.

“I’ve been out for five months though.

“It’s going to take some time to get full fitness and a feel for the game again.”

Simunovic has started Celtic’s last two games and had a sizeable period of game time versus Partick the week before. With Celtic’s hectic run of games approaching, the manager needs Simunovic to stay fit – especially given injuries to Nir Bitton, Kris Ajer and Hatem Abd Elhamed who all can play at centre half.

About Author

Born just as Celtic were stopping the Ten, Lubo98 follows Celtic home and away and helps run his local Celtic Supporters Club. He goes to all the games and is a Law Graduate. Has a particular fondness for Tom Rogic among the current Celts and both Lubo and Henrik form his earliest Celtic memories.

Comments are closed.