"That's up to me"; Josip Juranovic confirms he has free rein over Celtic penalties
Celtic right-back Josip Juranovic has confirmed that he has free rein over Celtic penalties after a stellar 5 out of 5 record so far.
The Croatian international has been prolific from the spot this season and bagged his latest on Saturday against St Johnstone. Another fine finish into the bottom left-hand corner notched goal number 4 of Celtic’s 7-0 rout. It’s a result that keeps them 6 points clear at the top with 5 games remaining.
There have, of course, been times when Juranovic hasn’t taken spotkicks this season even when on the pitch. Giakoumakis’ hat-trick against Ross County several weeks ago, for example, was confirmed with a second-half penalty before Juranovic went off.
But he has confirmed that he has the final say on whether to pass penalties over for whatever reason he feels fit.
As quoted by the Daily Record, Juranovic said: “I have scored five penalties out of five so I have to be happy with that. I practice in training all the time and it is paying off right now. It is going well and I want to keep it that way.
“I don’t really have a technique or mindset, it is all about practice being perfect for me. I know some of the other players might want to take them but they know for now I am first choice.
“If someone, like Giorgos (Giakoumakis) or Kyogo had two goals and was going for a hat-trick I might step aside and let them take the penalty. But that’s up to me if I want to let them do it or I take it myself – it depends on the circumstances.”
Celtic have finally found a reliable penalty taker in Josip Juranovic
Celtic have most certainly finally found a penalty kick taker they can rely on. This was a particular problem throughout both Brendan Rodgers and Neil Lennon’s time at the club over the years.
Celtic, for whatever reason, just couldn’t find themselves a consistent taker. Sure, we’ve had certain players go on small runs. The likes of Callum McGregor, for example, had his moment as the number 1 taker.
But the truth is we haven’t had a reliably consistent one since the Moussa Dembele days. Ever since his departure, finding the back of the net from the spot has been a bit of an issue. Thankfully, it looks liek a problem that’s finally come to an end.
Juranovic has shown a high-quality array of different finishes from the spot. Whether it be low and hard, high with power, or even a panenka – Josip seems to be able to do it all when it comes to penalties.
That doesn’t mean he won’t miss one of course. There will come a period where he blazes a pen past the post or it’s saved by the opposition goalkeeper. It’s important at that stage that we stick with him, as he’s already proven he’ll score a lot more than he’ll miss.
Juranovic seems to be thriving at Celtic Park in his debut season. Taking over the penalty kick duties is just another string for his bow.