Jozo declines Bosnian opportunity as Norwegians get excited about Celtic’s ‘risk taker’

JOZO Simunovic has decided to reject the chance to make his debut for Bosnia in the International friendlies at the end of month in favour of training with Celtic.

The defender switched his allegiance from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina last October but when the national team coach, Robert Prosinecki, asked if Simunovic was available, he declined. Instead, the 23-year-old will remain at Lennoxtown in a bid to impress Brendan Rodgers and make one of the central defensive berths, his own.

The move is impressive as it signifies Simunovic’s determination to manage his own workload and improve his performances to the benefit of the team. Hopefully it will turn out to be a mature decision on his part, given that last time he left for international duty he returned with a tear in his hamstring.

Simunovic will be feeling the heat after a red card in the 3-2 victory at Ibrox left critics questioning his involvement along with the emergence of Ajer and the return to fitness of Compper and Boyata.

Meanwhile Norway manager Lars Lagerback has declared that Celtic star defender Kristoffer Ajer can be in the national team for the next 15 years, although he wants the 19-year-old to take less “high risk” decisions in his game.

Ajer is scheduled to make his debut in the double header against Australia and Albania and if it is in the first game he would be up against Sunday’s goal hero Tom Rogic.

Ajer, who is in line for a bumper new contract from Celtic, has made 24 appearances this season and has become a key component of the defence.

“I do not know Kristoffer personally, so I’ll be a little careful, but everyone I know has been very positive about his personality. He has a lot of self-esteem, confidence and is the type of character we need to be a successful team,” Lagerback stated.

“That is the picture I am getting and I can’t wait to get to know him more. If he really wants to, he will become a very strong player for the national team. For someone of his age to be here is unusual in itself, so he needs to keep his feet on the ground and word hard.

“However, he has all the possibilities ahead of him. He can play for 10 or 15 years in the national team. I think he still plays a little too high risk, albeit I’m aware he has a coach (at Celtic) who plays that way. Aside from that, he is physical, strong and that is a big advantage to work with.”

Lewis Faulds


“There is surely no denyin’, wi’oor captain Willie Lyon, we will win the Scottish Cup once again,” a pre-war Celtic chant

Smell the Glove! Fighting for my life then joy and delight as Celtic stop the Ten

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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