Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic continued their fine partnership in yesterday’s 0-0 draw at Easter Road.
The disappointment of the stalemate will continue to eat away at all of us for a few days. It was a massively frustrating afternoon in Leith, against a side we’ve now failed to beat in four Premiership away games since their promotion.
Taking away positives seems cheap. Not winning the game overshadows absolutely everything, and the title party has once again had to be delayed for two weeks by the looks of things.
But if you strip the game down, there were some encouraging signs. The main ones, however, were clearly Ajer and Simunvoic.
We all know what Ajer is capable of. He can go on storming runs, is comfortable with the ball at his feet, and seldom ever makes any form of error for the opposition to pounce on.
Simunovic answering what’s being asked of him
The question marks, however, were always going to centre around how Simunovic fitted back in. Whilst Ajer has been a constant all season, his new defensive partner has played just 25 times this season.
But the Bosnian has now started Celtic’s last four matches. In impressive fashion, Celtic haven’t lost a goal in any of them. Simunovic has pounced on Dedryck Boyata’s injury and made the most of it.
And yesterday, he showed real confidence on the ball at a tricky venue. He went on his own darting runs forward. The former Zagreb man is so often sluggish in possession and careless in the pass, but we saw none of that yesterday. His first-touch was impressive, and his distribution was always on point.
Simunovic nearly scored the winner late on too with a towering header that was clawed away by Ofir Marciano.
But Celtic didn’t let anything get through them in truth. Most of what Scott Bain had to do was from range. Both Ajer and Simunovic stood up to the physical threat of Florian Kamberi and Marc McNulty with ease.
There appears to be a bit of trust forming between the pair. Their clean sheet record has been impressive so far and they’re giving nothing away. Yesterday was a massive test checked off for them.
They fully deserve the chance to go again with each other when Kilmarnock come to Parkhead on Saturday. Hopefully, Lennon gives them that chance.