Celtic have confirmed that centre-back Jozo Simunovic will leave Parkhead, along with Jonny Hayes, when their contracts expire at the end of next month.
The Croatian has struggled with knee injuries in recent years and the Scottish champions have opted against taking up their option to keep him for a further year.
Manager Neil Lennon has paid tribute to both Simunovic and Hayes:
“Both leave Celtic as nine-in-a-row champions. It’s an achievement they richly deserve and something I know they will cherish dearly.”
“I would like to sincerely thank both Jozo and Jonny, brilliant lads who have given their all to Celtic over a number of years.”
There was a mixed reaction among fans to Simunovic’s impending departure on Twitter:
Better have a plan to replace him.
— Peter Mcgachy (@PeterMcgachy) May 31, 2020
Not Celtic material nice big guy but we need better 💚🍀
— Stephen Cassidy (@SCass67) May 31, 2020
75 league appearances in 5 seasons. Average of 15 per season. Good player but never anywhere near fit enough.
— Pops (@paddyonthewing) May 31, 2020
Will miss big jozo nr 5, far better footballer than that tackle suggests, all the best for the future Croatian Bhoy 👏👏👏
— Jack Sullivan (@langerbhoy73) May 31, 2020
Enjoy the rest of your career sweet prince 💚
— KWrath (@kriswrath96) May 31, 2020
All the best Jozo a good player but injuries held you back but you did wipe kenny miller out in a old firm match which was brilliant 🇮🇪☘️
— Patrick Fay (@Patrick58178150) May 30, 2020
Doesnt really matter how good he is if he spends more time in the treatment room than on the pitch.
— Kevin Hackett (@KevinHa26255509) May 31, 2020
Miller is gonna miss u . Good luck Jozo.☘☘🇮🇪👍🏐
— james dornan (@jamesdornan1) May 30, 2020
The Croatian will certainly be remembered for his crunching tackle on Kenny Miller but it must be said that he has not been able to stay fit for long stretches of his time in Scotland.
Simunovic has not played more than 20 league games in his last three seasons at Celtic, and with the likes of Kristoffer Ajer and Christopher Jullien ahead of him in the pecking order, it seems like the right time to let him go.