JOZO Simunovic spent 90 minutes on the telephone to his brother on Wednesday night, receiving a blow-by-blow account of Dinamo Zagreb’s 2-1 win over Arsenal in the Champions League.
As he sat in his Amsterdam hotel room receiving the news of his former club’s brilliant start to their group stage campaign in European football’s elite tournament, Simunovic might have been excused for reflecting on what might have been.
But the Croatian central defender has no regrets about a career move which has seen him have to settle for Europa League football for this season at least.
Simunovic made a solid debut for Celtic in Thursday night’s 2-2 draw with Ajax as they made an encouraging opening to their Group A campaign in the second tier competition.
“I am very happy for Dinamo but I am with Celtic now and I can’t think about what would have happened if I had stayed in Zagreb,” said the 21-year-old.
“I am focused on this Europa League group with this team. I didn’t watch the Dinamo game – I watched Olympiakos v Bayern, which was on Dutch TV, because I didn’t have my laptop with me in Amsterdam. But I spent the whole game on the phone to my brother back home in Zagreb..
I am at Celtic now, not Dinamo. For me, that is a finished story. I am focused only on this clubJozo Simunovic
“I sent some of my old team-mates good luck messages before the game and they wished me the same for Celtic’s game against Ajax. I was really happy for them when they beat Arsenal but I couldn’t focus on their joy because I was so focused on our game.
“I am at Celtic now, not Dinamo. For me, that is a finished story. I am focused only on this team. I wish all the best to Dinamo but I am here and what is important is what happens here.”
Simunovic was satisfied with Celtic’s result on a night which also saw much fancied Fenerbahce lose 3-1 at home to Norwegian outsiders Molde in the other group fixture.
“It was a good debut for me and it was a good game,” added Simunovic. “In the end it was one point but if we had not had Emilio Izaguirre sent off, then I think we would have got three points.
“I was maybe a little nervous before the game. But when the referee started the game, I felt normal again and just enjoyed playing football.”
Simunovic is set to make his home debut tomorrow when Celtic entertain Dundee on Premiership duty.
Ronny Deila’s side will again be without the injured trio of Charlie Mulgrew, Stuart Armstrong and Scott Allan.