Celtic enjoyed a wonderful debut campaign under the Greek-born Australian manager, Ange Postecoglou, clinching their 52nd Scottish League title and winning the Scottish League Cup as well. In mid-August, the Hoops signed the Croatian right back, Josip Juranovic from Polish team Legia Warszawa to very little fanfare and attention. However, by the end of the campaign, Juranovic exceeded expectations and became an important member of the Celtic backline, helping them keep 20 clean sheets in the Scottish Premiership alone and concede just 22 times (0.58 per game).
Juranović played 26 games for Celtic in the 2021-22 Scottish Premiership. He made 23 starts and played for 2,062 minutes. Juranović scored thrice for the Hoops at a rate of 0.12 goals per 90, which was slightly less than 0.14 xG per 90 estimated. In fact, this rate of xG per 90 ranked him in the top 3% of defenders. With over 1.38 shots per 90, the Croatian right-back was in the upper 2% of defenders in this category. He also registered 1.63 touches in the opposition’s penalty area, putting him in the 91st percentile. Juranović was also involved in just less than seven attacking actions per 90.
In addition to his three goals, Juranović registered two assists. However, he underperformed on his xA per 90 of 0.13 by providing only 0.04 assists per 90. Juranović was a highly active man in Celtic’s build-up play, averaging more than 67 pass attempts per 90 with a very high accuracy of 85.74%. His ball progression was also excellent, averaging 9.75 passes into the final third per 90 at an accuracy of just below 80%. With 2.37 progressive runs per 90 and 3.14 crosses per 90, he provided an attacking threat down the wings. Juranović was also ranked in the 94th percentile or greater among defenders for shot assists per 90, smart passes per 90 and through passes per 90.
Juranović showed his versatility and attacking intent for Celtic, as seen in the above heat map. He played as a right-back 12 times and as a left-back, he made nine appearances for Ange Postecoglou’s men. The Croatian attempted 36 shots and mustered eight of them on target. He also completed 98 crosses and 50 tackles & interceptions throughout the season.
As seen from the above map, Juranović was able to create threats from both the flanks, delivering crosses, through balls and dribbles into the opponents’ penalty box. His average xT score hovered around the 1.0 mark, even occasionally touching and exceeding 2.0.
Josip Juranović performed admirably for Celtic in his first campaign, though we have to keep in mind that the numbers and statistics could be inflated due to playing for a ball-dominant team in the Scottish Premiership. The next challenge for him would be to perform on the European stage against tougher opposition as it is clear that Celtic need Juranović to even remotely compete in the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League group stages.