"I'm very tired"; Celtic defender Josip Juranovic reacts to heavy Croatia duty after injury return

By John McGinley

June 14, 2022

Celtic defender Josip Juranovic was in a buoyant mood last night after helping his country to a famous 1-0 win away to France in the UEFA Nations League.

As we discussed last night, the Hoops favourite was instrumental for Croatia, playing at left-back and shutting out a star-studded attack that included Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Christopher Nkunku.

His display was especially remarkable considering he played in every minute of Croatia’s four games during this international window, after making a comeback from an injury sustained in the Scottish Cup semi-final vs Rangers.

Photo by Hugo Pfeiffer/Icon Sport via Getty Images

It’s been a big effort from the player.

He explained to Sport Klub: “At Celtic, I played thirteen games at left-back because our left-back got injured. The coach asked me if I could play on the opposite side, and I answered in the affirmative because anything is possible for Croatia.

“Fatigue? I have two difficult months behind me because I was out of action for six and a half weeks due to a hamstring injury. I came to the roll call, did two workouts and was immediately on fire for ninety minutes and so on until the end. I’m very tired, but let’s move on.”

Meanwhile, he reflected on the performance of Croatia as a team, going on to say: “It’s always easier when the whole team plays defence, Brekalo and Pašalić went down on their sides, in the second half Majer and Vlašić.

“In addition, when you have such three midfielders in front of you, then it is much easier to defend and defend.”

“We played a perfect game, the French did not have any distinct opportunities. We didn’t concede a goal in two games, so I just have to commend the guys who did a job at a high level. In general, we kept the pace, especially in the middle of the field, where the best three in the world play. It’s getting easier with Modrić, Brozović and Kovačić.”

Photo by Anthony Dibon/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Juranovic will now get a few weeks of rest before again meeting up with the Bhoys and heading on a pre-season tour of Austria.

Manager Ange Postecoglou will obviously be monitoring his fitness closely after his hamstring issue and we could well see the Croatian get more of an extended break from match action.

Overall though, we have to take our hats off to Josip for an excellent shift with Croatia and can’t wait to see him back in the Hoops. Rest up!

In other news, St Mirren confirm reduced capacity for Celtic supporters next season.