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Celtic defender insists he does not want to leave the club

Celtic star Jozo Simunovic has insisted he wants to stay at the club beyond the summer and fight for his place in the starting XI.

The Croatian defender earned a clean sheet on Tuesday night as the Hoops swept away Armenian side FC Alashkert 3-0 in their Champions League qualifier.

It means Brendan Rodgers’ men are in touching distance of the next round of the qualifiers, and Simunovic has admitted he is ignoring speculation surrounding hi future and is focusing on the many more Champions League nights to come.

Simunovic has often found himself out of the first team picture at Celtic due to the strict competition for places in defence, and it looked like he may be on the way out of Parkhead with a number of suitors interested.

However, the 23-year-old has insisted he is not interested in moving away from Celtic, instead hoping to stake a claim in Rodgers’ side.

“Yes. Definitely. I want to stay and play in the Champions League again,” he said.

“I’m still a Celtic player and I’m happy here. I’m just looking forward and I don’t worry about interest from other clubs. I’m here and I’m happy playing games. That’s the most important things.

“It’s not just about me. A lot of clubs are keen on other boys, but you can be sure that we are giving everything here and aren’t thinking about any offers.

“Celtic plays European football every year. Every player in the world wants to play in the Champions League. It’s the best competition there is.

“For sure this is the fittest I’ve felt for some time. I had some time off and some sunshine.

“Definitely I feel much better than last season.

“Injuries are part of football, especially if you are playing in every game. You need some time to adapt yourself to play the number of games Celtic play.

“I’m here and going day by day. I feel better than last year and that’s the most important thing.

“Of course there’s a lot of competition for places but I’m here and I’m not scared of anybody. I believe in myself.

“The gaffer needs to pick the best players to play. I have nothing against that.

“I’m fine with how we play. We started with three at the back and we changed to four later in the game, but me personally, I don’t have any problem with that.

“The other boys have also shown they can deal that, so we looked good in both situations.

“The competition is something I welcome. You need that. Players pushing you more and more and I’m looking forward to the season.”
[Quotes via Daily Record]