Celtic defender Jozo Simunovic put in arguably his best display of the season in today’s 3-0 win over Aberdeen.
The Bosnian returned to the starting XI and helped Kristoffer Ajer boss Sam Cosgrove with ease. The Dons forward never had a sniff, with Simunovic never letting him out of his sight, and constantly sticking close to him.
Simunovic was even making waves going forward too. He came close to opening the scoring twice in the first five minutes, and made several storming runs forward throughout. He also sent a volley flying wide in an incredibly explosive display from the centre-back.
Celtic supporters were quick to acknowledge his contribution on Twitter too. Giving their reaction to Simunovic’s display in the Scottish Cup semi success, here’s what some supporters had to say.
Tell you what, Simunovic & Ajer have been sensational today.
Keeping the tempo with their passing, winning every battle, allowing Lustig to bomb on. 🙌🏽
— beans (@simonbeans_) April 14, 2019
Jozo Simunovic + Kris Ajer more than capable of being our first choice centre half's next season.
Simunovic best performance in a Celtic jersey for me.
— dmk1985 (@dmk1985) April 14, 2019
Are folk still wanting rid of Simunovic this summer? Surely not.
— Lainey__D 🏴⚽️ (@Lainey__D) April 14, 2019
Good to see Jozo Simunovic getting some credit the day. Injury free and a run of games and he can be very good. You’re no a bad player if you came through the youth set up at Dinamo Zagreb
— Andrew Meade (@AndrewMeade_) April 14, 2019
Šimunović had a great game, could've got a hat-trick, don't think anyone put a foot wrong
Bossed it from start to finish
— Susanne (@Sus_L_) April 14, 2019
jozo simunovic has been some laugh the day! Love the big man💚
— Liam Bowie (@LiamBowie90) April 14, 2019
Big Simunovic is absolutely at it today! C’mon you bhoys in green!
— Paul Richardson (@Paul4Richardson) April 14, 2019
Good to see Jozo Simunovic finally getting the respect he deserves from Celtic fans. 🍀
— Kieran. (@KieranSmith_96) April 14, 2019
Big Simunovic has looked a different player today. A few nose bleed runs. He's actually looked the part haha
— Scott Alcroft (@ScottAlcroft) April 14, 2019
A performance that was needed
This was an outing that Simunovic desperately needed. He hasn’t featured as much as Dedryck Boyata, Kristoffer Ajer, or Filip Benkovic this term. Therefore, in the 24 outings he has had this season, he’s had to impress.
Of course, added to that, he has to start making a statement ahead of next season. Outside of Ajer, none of the current centre-backs that are contracted to be here next season are ahead of Simunovic in the pecking order.
Today, he made the point to Neil Lennon (or any future manager) that he can work alongside Ajer next season. It was almost a breakthrough performance from him, as he showed skill at both ends of the pitch.
With Benkovic on the bench, there’s an intriguing battle still ongoing there. Both men are now in a real battle during the run-in for first-team action.
Whilst Benkovic has been impressive this season, he isn’t our player. The Leicester defender is due to go back in the summer to the King Power Stadium. That could entice Lennon to keep fielding Simunovic between now and the end of the season to hope an understanding between both he and Ajer develops.
In any case, it was by far Simunovic’s best outing in a Hoops jersey. Here’s hoping there are more to come.