Michael Stewart gives Celtic defender Christopher Jullien the thumbs up

By John McGinley

August 22, 2019

Celtic have taken a solid 2-0 first leg lead in the UEFA Europa League play-off encounter against AIK this evening.

The Swedes struggled to cope with the Hoops all evening and the team’s pressure paid off with goals from James Forrest and Odsonne Edouard.

There were lots of positives to take away from the game, with stand-outs like Edouard and Mikey Johnston delighting supporters in attack.

The clean sheet would be easy to overlook but it could prove crucial in progressing past the Swedish champions. It was the first time we haven’t conceded in a match since the 7-0 drubbing of St Johnstone.

One player getting credit for his performance is summer signing Christopher Jullien. The Frenchman was making his fourth start for the club and was a strong presence throughout.

BBC Scotland’s Michael Stewart now thinks he’ll be a good signing for the Hoops.

As quoted by the outlet’s 22/08 live match page (21:42), the outspoken pundit said: “As the game wore on I’ve been impressed, I think he’s got the attributes – he’s composed with both feet, good headers, positionally not too bad as well.

“Obviously there’s question marks because you spend £7m and he’s not playing a Champions League qualifier, but with Jullien from what I’ve seen I think he’ll be a good signing.”

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Is Stewart right?

It was certainly a much improved display from his showing against Dunfermline. There will now be hope amongst supporters he can use the match as a springboard towards even better performances.

Stewart is right to point out his two-footed ball playing as a real asset. Having that ability distributing out from the back could be crucial throughout the rest of the season as his confidence grows.

With obvious aerial strength too, there’s much to look forward to.

He now needs a run of games in the team so we can see what he can really do on a consistent basis.

Hopefully tonight’s performance gives Lennon enough confidence in his selection and he doesn’t continue to needless tinker with much of the lineup.

Partnerships and combinations now need time to grow together and Jullien should be at the heart of that, for now.