Celtic manager Ronny Deila has revealed that he is bemused to see Jozo Simunovic receiving a call-up from the Croatia Under-21 team, despite the defender not being fully fit.

The 21-year-old, who joined the Scottish champions from Dinamo Zagreb in the summer, has been out of action since undergoing an ankle operation last month.

Simunovic’s last appearance for Celtic was in late January when he featured in the 3-1 win over St Johnstone in a Scottish Premiership fixture.

However, the Croatian Under-21 team still included the centre-back in their squad for the country’s upcoming matches later in the month.

But Deila insisted that Simunovic will not go away on international duty as he is still not fully fit.


“I can’t understand that”, Deila said in a press conference on Friday, when asked about Simunovic’s international call-up.

“He’ll not go of course, he’s not injury free, so he will stay here.”

Deila went on to add that although he cannot specify when Simunovic will return from his spell on the sidelines, the Norwegian thinks the youngster may be available for selection in the Scottish Cup semi-final with Rangers at Hampden on 16th April.

“It’s hard to say [when he’ll be back], he’s still some weeks [away] before he will be fit”, he continued.

“But I’m really not sure how close it is, but it’s not in the nearest future.

“Against Rangers? That’s five weeks away, that’s a possibility.”

Simunovic has thus far made 17 appearances in all competitions for Celtic, scoring once.