Jozo Simunovic suspension is no problem for Celtic

By David Walton

July 18, 2019

The Jozo Simunovic red card picked up against St Gallen early this month appears to have come back to haunt him.

The big Bosnian has been sent packing for the first two domestic games of the season. This comes after a dangerously high foot in the 0-0 draw with Swiss side St Gallen in pre-season.

It was originally feared that Simunovic could’ve missed European matches. But that isn’t the case according to STV. Instead, he’ll miss the league opener against St Johnstone on August 3rd, before then missing the trip to Fir Park a week after.

But is it really that big of a deal?

We’re used to this by now with big Jozo (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

By that stage, Christopher Jullien will likely have bumped Simunovic to the bench in any case. The partnership between Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer should be the first-choice one for Neil Lennon this season. Considering how far Jullien has come over the last couple of weeks with his fitness, he’ll be at 100% come the games Simunovic will miss.

In addition to that, it also keeps him fresh for the Champions League qualifiers if we’re still in them. It gives Lennon the chance to rest up one of his key centre-backs before unleashing him in the European matches. That is, of course, Lennon feels the Ajer-Jullien partnership needs another hand.

Simunovic red card doesn’t leave us with no alternative

Celtic are also reportedly close to signing up Hatem Abd Elhamed (Scottish Sun). He’s also a natural centre-back, and could also, therefore, be ahead of Simunovic in the pecking order.

The fact it’s only two games means that it’s hardly the worst blow we could’ve received. With the threat of a European ban previously having been feared, it’s good news to have been able to avoid that.

Simunovic could struggle to get back in (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Come the start of the season, we should be well-stocked at centre-back and able to deal with these kinds of set-backs.

Simunovic isn’t exactly a stranger to a suspension here and there or a silly red card. It’s something we’ve dealt with in the past, and will easily deal with once again at the start of the season.

The door is now wide open for Christopher Jullien to start the league campaign as a first choice (Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

For the player himself, it’s a blow at least. The big defender could’ve just cost himself the chance to keep the momentum going in the race to stay in the team. It’s enforcing Lennon to drop him out of the team, and if Jullien and Ajer impress together, it could be difficult for the centre-back to get back in permanently.

But news of today’s suspension was most likely met with a shrug of the shoulders by many Celtic fans today.