As the Scottish Premiership continues its extended break, it’s clear that there are some Celtic players who could use it to their advantage.
Indeed, Scottish football, and most of European football, is in lockdown as the recent global health crisis continues to hit hard.
A UEFA meeting today saw clubs agree on a deadline of June 30th for all domestic matters to be wrapped up (Daily Record). However, given nobody can predict how the health crisis will develop, there are still no guarantees of that happening.
So below, we take a look at the three players who may feel as though an extended break from the game has come at decent time with regards to their individual circumstances:
1. Mikey Johnston
Mikey Johnston has been in and out of the team this season as he slowly continues his emergence as a first-team regular. However, in recent weeks he may very well have stayed in Neil Lennon’s bad-books.
The Celtic boss was caught on camera telling Johnston, well, let’s just say he told him to get out of his sight when he came off at St Johnstone back in January. This was due to the fact that the winger was initially asked if he needed to come off, before rejecting the request and aggravating his injury.
Lennon has since said that the injury to Johnston is “long-term”(BBC). However, the break gives him plenty of time to get himself back up to speed. With a June 30 finish, Johnston may yet have a say in any resumption of the league campaign.
At the very least, the winger won’t be losing ground on anyone ahead of him. For him, the break could be a blessing in disguise for his career.
2. Jozo Simunovic
Things just weren’t looking great for Jozo before the league shut down. He had just come off making a costly error against Copenhagen in Celtic’s Europa League last-32 tie, and didn’t look as if he had any confidence in his game whatsoever.
He was an injury doubt leading up to the Ibrox game. However, any notion that he would’ve started regardless would’ve been more than optimistic.
Simunovic had next to no chance of playing given his recent run of form and his lack of consistency when it comes to doing the basics right. It also came at a time of the season when we need everyone focused and not making silly errors.
The break gives Jozo the chance to take some deep breaths. He’s a good player on his day, but has long struggled with cheap mistakes. He looked almost certain to barely feature between March and the end of the season. But if he can sort out his frame of mind over the course of the break, it could give him a chance to get back into matchday squads again if we resume before the end of June.
3. Marian Shved
Nothing has gone right for Marian since he signed for Celtic in the summer. From Neil Lennon having a pop at him to the man who made the move possible questioning whether it was the right one (Scottish Sun).
Shved has only managed three appearances all season and has missed a massive total of 43 matchday squads (Transfermarkt).
Lennon has in the past said that a key problem for Shved has been the language barrier (Daily Record). Therefore, a break from games and match-day preparation could give him the chance to get stuck into that side of things and get more suited to life in Glasgow.
With no games for the foreseeable future at any level, Shved should have plenty of free time on his hands. He could do with working on his deficiencies to put him back into Lennon’s good books again. Out of everyone in the squad, the young Ukrainian is the one who should be making the most of the current uncertainty.