Report: Celtic vs Hibs to be too soon for Christopher Jullien return
Celtic vs Hibernian is likely to come too soon for Christopher Jullien despite featuring in a bounce game yesterday, the Scottish Sun reports.
Jullien has been out since December 2020 with a devastating knee injury that required surgery and a lengthy recuperation period. The Frenchman missed out on Celtic’s run-in last season as well as the first 6 months of the Ange Postecoglou era at Parkhead.
There have been extremely positive signs however in recent weeks. The player has been taking part in full training and featured in a closed-doors match vs St Mirren yesterday as he stepped things up further.
Ange Postecoglou stated back in December that he believed the player would be back fit and available after the winter break [Daily Record]. However, the Sun believes the Hibs game likely won’t be his return date.
Celtic have so far gone through the campaign with 3 natural centre-backs in their ranks, whilst Nir Bitton has also dropped back to help regularly.
It remains to be seen if Jullien will be considered for for the Scottish Cup tie at Alloa on January 22nd.
Christopher Jullien return will complete Celtic in the centre-back positions
When Jullien does return, Ange will have all of the options he needs at the back to have a successful second half of the campaign. Having 4 natural CBs as well as cover from Bitton really should stand us in good stead.
Of course, if he isn’t back for the Hibernian clash, many will start to count down the days to the Glasgow derby. Celtic host Rangers on February 2nd, and ideally after such a long time out, Jullien will have had games under his belt before then.
The Hoops face both Hearts at Tynecastle and Dundee United at Celtic Park before the Ibrox side come calling next month. If Jullien is being considered for that one, he needs to be getting some game-time in the fixtures mentioned.
You then have the question over whether Jullien is actually a first-choice centre-back in the current system. Sure, you can question whether Carl Starfelt has shown enough to demand more starting XI exposure than Chris. But the former is an Ange signing and he’ll rightly continue to back him.
We have a massive few months coming up and there will be plenty of games for Chris to get his teeth stuck into. But whether he’ll actually play a big role in some of the immediate matches coming up is up for debate.
For now, we await his return with anticipation. If it doesn’t arrive on Monday night, hopefully it’s 5 days later at Alloa.