Stephen Welsh earned plenty of deserved praise for a competent display in Saturday’s derby defeat to Rangers, but it only came about thanks to the surprising absence of Christopher Jullien.
Indeed, going into the Rangers game, almost everyone would’ve had Jullien in there alongside Shane Duffy and Kristoffer Ajer. Given the positive-testing Nir Bitton and Hatem Elhamed were both sidelined, it was the obvious choice.
And there was no reason for fans to think otherwise. Jullien had made the squad against St Johnstone and was an unused substitute during the 2-0 win in Perth. That was two weeks before the Rangers game and our last fixture heading into it.
Another fortnight of solid grafting at Lennoxtown over the international break should’ve allowed him to recover fully from the back injury he picked up. It was an injury that had previously kept him out of games against Livingston, Hibernian, Riga, and Sarajevo respectively.
But we were made to believe he was ready to play. That’s what his substitute spot against St Johnstone represented.
Yet Jullien wasn’t in the squad that faced Rangers on Saturday. He missed the game completely after a period in which he should’ve been getting himself up to peak condition.
Lennon yet to go into detail on Jullien
Neil Lennon touched on Jullien post-match on Saturday, but only to once again tell us that he would likely miss the AC Milan game tomorrow. Speaking to Celtic TV, Lennon briefly stated: “Chris Jullien – I doubt very much he’ll be available.”
Yet there doesn’t seem to be any real explanation given to supporters as to why. Given the personnel we’re already missing, it’s absolutely vital that we get Jullien back into the squad as soon as possible.
We’re talking about a player here who cost the club £7million in the summer of 2019 when we bought him from Toulouse (Scottish Sun). But he’s also 27, putting him up there with some of the more senior players in the Celtic squad. His experience is absolutely vital, and could’ve been used against Rangers on Saturday.
When Lennon takes up his press duties later on ahead of the Milan clash tomorrow, he needs to come out and give us some clarity on just what is going on with Jullien.
The Frenchman has proven himself to be far too valuable for the Celtic squad to only merit a passing comment on his injury. His absence continues to be detrimental to the club, and it’s important for the trust between the manager and supporters that he goes into some more detail on his problem.
Given what he said on Saturday, it’s all but certain he won’t feature against Milan. But with games against Aberdeen and Lille coming up, it’s vital we know the proper state of play with him.