Neil Lennon was so enthused about the performance of Christopher Jullien in Rome that he wanted the press to know all about it.
The big 6ft 5in Frenchman was a colossus as the Bhoys earned their first win away to an Italian team, and their first at the home of any team from a top five European league since Liverpool in 2003.
His compatriot Olivier Ntcham may have stolen the majority of the headlines with the winning goal, but Lennon didn’t overlook the role Jullien played on a famous night.
“What about big Jullien? Wow,” Lennon said at a quieter moment during his post-match press conference. (Daily Record)
The sentence was short and simple, but it showed just how highly Lennon had rated the defensive performance on the night. There are no reports on what answers he got from the unwitting journalists.
Jullien is starting to show that he’s better than Boyata
Jullien arrived at Celtic just weeks after long-term servant Dedryck Boyata had left the club. The Belgian may have departed on a free to Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin – but the reality is that he was worth a similar amount to the £7million we shelled out for the Frenchman.
Many were likely to judge the former Toulouse man by Boyata’s pretty impressive standards. Things got off to a slow start with Jullien starting just two of his first eight matches. His absence on the night we lost 4-3 to Cluj was well documented and it is perhaps no surprise that Lennon has started him in 18 of the last 19 matches – with a cup tie against Partick Thistle the only exception.
Jullien has performed well in the average league and cup matches, but his most impressive trait so far has been rising to the big occasion. His four best performances have come arguably when we have needed him most – away to Rennes and Rangers, and in the double header against Lazio.
The Frenchman seems to rise to the big occasion like few other central-defenders in our recent history. Boyata was always capable of putting in a solid performance in a big match, but you always felt that a mistake wasn’t far away.
Jullien doesn’t seem to have very many mistakes in his game, from early evidence at least. It’s still early days but the French giant is already becoming a household name at the club.