CHRISTOPHER JULLIEN, Celtic’s most expensive defender at £7million, was an unused substitute as the club crashed out of the Champions League in the error-strewn 4-3 loss to the Romanians of Cluj at Parkhead last month.

The towering central defender has yet to sample defeat since his summer move from Toulouse, but backed manager Neil Lennon all the way in his decision-making.

The 26-year-old Frenchman, speaking to BBC Sport, said: “It’s the choice of the coach and you have to deal with it. I respect that 100 per cent.”

Jullien returned to the line-up after the sensational exit from Europe’s elite competition and the Hoops have won all five, culminating in a stunning display from the back-four operator in the 2-0 victory over Rangers at Ibrox on Sunday.

AIR WE GO…Christopher Jullien puts the pressure on Dunfermline.

The crucial triumph against Steven Gerrard’s team, who were the bookies’ favourites to win their third consecutive Glasgow derby in Govan against the eight in a row champions, pushed Neil Lennon’s men three points clear at the top of the table after four games.

Reflecting on his hectic introduction to Scottish football, Jullien said: “It was a really, really long month and there were a lot of games.

“All the guys deserved a trophy because we did a really good job on the field. The intensity, the level, I really like it.

“It is just one month. Neil Lennon is the one who believes in me. He told me I don’t have to panic and just to be sure of my talent.”

Jullien missed the first few games of the new campaign as he tried to pick up the pace and he recalled the first time he spoke out when he harangued Jozo Simunovic in training, only to get it back straight away.

He continued: “I wanted to say something, but just kept quiet. So, the first time I shouted at someone it was Jozo and just after that he said the same thing to me. It was a funny moment.

HIGH HOPES…Christian Jullien towers above his opponent. 

“It was a little thing. This happens. Things come out. When you feel comfortable, you find it easier to say things and you say the words more softly and the guys understand me.”

Looking back at the weekend triumph at Ibrox, Jullien added: “I hadn’t seen an atmosphere like that. In Paris, it’s really good, they have the crowds, but it’s not the PSG as before. It’s changed a bit.

“Every time I go to Marseille, they are a team whose fans think they will win everything. If the team does something bad, the fans are hard on them.

“For me, Sunday’s atmosphere was better. At the entrance to the game, my legs were shaking, everything. It was really good. The importance of the game, the stress beforehand, everyone was ignited at once.

“When you see our reaction with the fans afterwards, you can see what it was before. All the stress is normal for a footballer and winning those games are so enjoyable.

“I think Sunday was my best moment in football. For sure.”

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About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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