Celtic support await crucial Josip Juranovic update as "couple of weeks" timeline ends
As the Celtic supporters prepare to hear from Ange Postecoglou before Saturday’s game against Hearts, it’s fair to say we’re all awaiting the next update on Josip Juranovic.
The Croatian international has been sidelined since the Hampden semi-final defeat to Rangers. It had been reported at the time that he would be struggling to return before mid-May [Football Scotland].
The Celtic manager, however, shed some light on the situation before the trip to Ross County nearly a fortnight ago. Speaking then, he stated that Juranovic would be out for “at least a couple of weeks” [Football Scotland].
Fast forward 2 weeks and here we are. Juranovic has missed games against Ross County and Rangers whilst Anthony Ralston has deputised in his place.
The Hoops have 3 games remaining and could take a huge step towards the title with a win over Hearts on Saturday. Whether the game will come too soon for Josip remains to be seen.
But we saw against Rangers on Sunday just how badly we missed him. Perhaps the best 1-v-1 defender Celtic have, it’ll be interesting to hear about how he is after taking a couple of weeks to recover.
Josip Juranovic return would be a fine boost ahead of Celtic vs Hearts
Postecoglou didn’t sound overly optimistic at the time when it came to what would happen after those 2 weeks. It sounded as though he was bracing the support for a more prolonged delay.
However, that could be just pessimism. Nobody will know how Juranovic has recovered over the last fortnight better than the player himself and the manager.
What we certainly missed from him against Rangers was that ability to get up and down the pitch quickly. He doesn’t leave the backline as exposed as Ralston occasionally can. Not to mention he’s a touch more influential in the final third when he gets on his overlapping or underlapping runs.
Granted, whether he would be an absolutely essential inclusion to face Hearts on Sunday is debatable. You would still be confident in Celtic getting the job done even if Ralston was playing.
But even so, fans will want Juranovic fit and available as soon as possible. We still want to end the season strongly with 3 wins out of 3, and Josip deserves to enjoy this final period given what he’s put into the campaign as a whole.
All eyes then on Ange’s next media appearance pre-Hearts. Hopefully, it’s good news.