Celtic manager Neil Lennon was surprised by the quality of defender Jozo Simunovic’s semi-final performance against Aberdeen on Sunday.
Simunovic won plaudits from pundits and supporters for his display against Aberdeen which was both robust defensively and impressive in an attacking sense.
The centre-back had a number of runs forward with the ball at his feet, including a mazy run early in the match that could have easily resulted in the opening goal.
It was the kind of performance fans have been waiting on from him for ages and even Lennon admits he was shocked.
Jozo surprised me on Sunday. He was very, very good technically on the ball, and I thought he had a fantastic game defensively. I should have given him a rollicking for not scoring!
No, seriously, his acrobatics at the end deserved better, and I’m delighted for him. He’s come through a period of multiple injuries with a great attitude and a great desire to play. I thought he handled Sam Cosgrove very, very well.
I think that attacking-mindedness of the players was evident all over the game. With balls into the box in between the goalkeeper and the defenders, you’ve got to ask the question at times.
If Simunovic can produced performances like Sunday’s on a regular basis then he will quickly become a favourite with fans again. He was a popular figure during the ‘Invincibles’ season but over the last 18 months his reputation has taken a bit of a kicking due to dwindling form.
The 24-year-old appears to be relishing playing under Neil Lennon though and many will be hoping that whoever the manager is from the summer onwards, Simunovic can start realising their potential in the first-team.
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