By Will Butcher
Celtic’s commanding defender Jozo Simunovic has been handed his first start in eight months as Brendan Rodgers’ side prepare to face Alloa in the Betfred Cup.
The Croatian stopper has failed to start a match after tearing ligaments in his knee back in January against St. Johnstone, but did make a substitute appearance against Inverness on Saturday.
Celtic’s number five almost joined Serie A side Torino in the summer, only for the former Dinamo Zagreb defender to fail a medical ahead of a proposed £4.5million move.
Simunovic, 22, underwent surgery in March to sort the problem out and is now set to make his first full start for the Hoops since January.
Fans are delighted to see their injury prone centre-back finally named on the teamsheet from the off, with many expecting to see a strong performance from the former Croatia under-21 international.
Here are a selection of their tweets:
Happy that Brendan has put out a strong team tonight, we can't afford to take anything for granted. Happy to see Simunovic starting. #Celtic
— John (@JohnBhoy93) September 21, 2016
good to see him back starting #HailHail
— James Ntcham ⭐ (@jay1888kay) September 21, 2016
All the best big man. Sure to be a future star for the tic
— Gazzarinho (@gazzarinho1) September 21, 2016
Strong team oot 💪 glad big Simunovic is starting 🍀🍀 https://t.co/FBOKcj4R3F
— Chris Gunn (@Gunnie67) September 21, 2016
happy with that, strong team, good to see Simunovic starting#HailHail
— Paolo (@pja7171) September 21, 2016
Good to see Simunovic back in the team
— Paul (@PaulMc1995) September 21, 2016
Simunovic moved to Celtic Park from Dinamo Zagreb in a £3million deal last summer, and has four years left on his contract.
The defender has made just 17 appearances for the Scottish giants since his move to Glasgow, and will be hoping tonight’s game at Parkhead can tempt former Liverpoo boss Rodgers into starting him on a regular basis.
In other Celtic news, Kieran Tierney has been named in the SPFL team of the week.