Jozo Simunovic's recent performances show he can be future Celtic star
Jozo Simunovic was left celebrating more than most as Celtic clinched another league title on Saturday. The defender netted for the second successive week, rising to nod in a looping header just after half-time in the win over Aberdeen. His goal was sandwiched between strikes from Mikael Lustig and Odsonne Edouard as Neil Lennon’s men moved into an unassailable lead in the Premiership.
Dedryck Boyata’s season ending injury gave the Croatian a second bite at the cherry in the Celtic first team and he hasn’t looked back.
Celtic have kept clean sheets in all six of the matches since Simunovic returned to the team. In fact, the Croatian hasn’t conceded a single domestic goal this calendar year.
The 24 year-old has also added a real presence from set-pieces. The Hoops have been criticised for a lack of headed goals in recent seasons so any added aerial presence must be welcomed.
New defensive duo has solved some problems
Simunovic and Kristoffer Ajer’s new found partnership has been one of the real positives since Lennon came in. The pair have gone over 600 minutes since last conceding and look better with every passing game.
With a combined age of just 45, they could be Celtic’s first choice partnership for years to come. Flip Benkovic and Boyata’s almost certain departure in the summer suddenly doesn’t look quite as ominous.
Ajer and Simunovic’s rise means that the centre of defence is no longer an issue that requires immediate attention. Celtic’s new duo have offered some much needed respite.