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Celtic defender Josip Juranovic played his first match since mid-April tonight, starting for Croatia in their UEFA Nations League clash at home to Austria. Juranovic went off injured with a hamstring problem in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers and missed Celtic’s title run-in, absent for all five matches after the Scottish Premiership split. However, he was given the all-clear to return to his homeland and feature for Croatia in their run of three matches this month. Unfortunately, tonight didn’t quite go to plan for the Croatians, losing 3-0 in front of disgruntled home support.

From a Celtic perspective, it was at least good news that Juranovic came through the 90 minutes unscathed. That suggests he’s fully overcome his hamstring issue and can look forward to a productive pre-season with the Bhoys. Juranovic will also be in line to start matches against France and Denmark over the next week, but after that will be fully focused on preparing for the start of the Scottish Premiership.

The 26-year-old had a terrific debut season at the Bhoys, making 35 appearances in all competitions and scoring five goals. His athletic presence on the right flank was a key part of Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic system and it still feels like we might not even have seen the best of him yet. The right-back position is looking strong heading into the new season and Juranovic will need to stay on the top of his game to stay ahead of a motivated Anthony Ralston.
He will be looking to make a strong return from injury on the pitch playing for his national team side as they look to go far in the ongoing UEFA Nations League. While the injury is expected to slow him down a little, he is expected to bounce back with fine performances.