Michael Stewart on the psychological bonus for Celtic star tonight

By Euan Davidson

January 22, 2022

Pundit and former Scotland international Michael Stewart has talked about tonight’s massive psychological boost for Celtic defender Christopher Jullien, even though he didn’t see action.

Jullien, out since last December after what looked like an impact injury sustained against Dundee United. Making a successful attempt to clear the ball off the line, his knee clattered against the post.

For Jullien, who had only just returned to the Celtic fold after a previous injury, it was a season-ender. And although we’ve had false dawns, we finally saw the big Frenchman named in a squad tonight. Warming up pre-match, Jullien looked delighted. On the bench, he was seen laughing and joking with team-mates including Jota and Josip Juranovic.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

That’s got to have been a substantial morale boost for the lad, just getting back into the match-day squad. And Michael Stewart emphasised the importance of tonight for both the player and Ange Postecoglou. Despite Jullien not actually getting onto the astro-turf at the Indodrill.

Stewart said [Premier Sports]: “You can just imagine the frustration Christopher Jullien’s had.

“13 months, for an injury that originally you wouldn’t have suspected was going to be that long, at all.

“For him psychologically, getting this close is a bonus. Even though he’s not been able to get back on the park. And I’d imagine for the manager it’s a good sight to have, another centre-half back in the squad.

“A lot of games coming up, it’s a big, big player that he’s getting back in.”

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Michael Stewart is right about impact of Celtic sub appearance for Christopher Jullien

Unfortunately, the injury gods decided there wouldn’t be space in tonight’s game for a Christopher Jullien cameo tonight.

Callum McGregor, Liel Abada and Yosuke Ideguchi were all forced off in a rough-and-ready Cup clash. Celtic saw it out 2-1, but the main shoots of hope come from some appearances we saw, and players yet to make an impact this season.

If Jullien can rediscover his 19-20 form, we know how good a player he can be. That’s a lot to ask after such a significant injury wait, and it’ll take time. But Jullien is still the right side of 30, and has shown nothing if not his utter determination in a Celtic shirt.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

As a dressing room leader, and just a likeable guy, having him in fold can only be a good thing. And yes, cliché though it may be, he qualifies as being “like a new signing” for Ange Postecoglou. Big Ange will be aware of how useful Jullien can be for Celtic. What’s more, he’ll already have seen the popularity he has in the squad, and the type of character he is.

So kudos to Michael Stewart for making the esoteric but very reasonable point. If anything, his actual being on the pitch was elementary. In terms of a psychological boost, he was back in a match-day squad, with his teammates.

Given how much time he’s been forced to spend away from the first-team, that’s got to come as a moment of joy for the lovable French defender.

Read more: Video: Brilliant Joe Hart moment with young supporter after Celtic win