Benkovic buoyed by part­ner­ship with Jozo

Evening Times - - SPORT -

FILIP Benkovic be­lieves he can es­tab­lish as strong a part­ner­ship with coun­try­man Jozo Simunovic as he did with Dedryck Boyata.

The Croa­t­ian’s part­ner­ship with Boyata gave Celtic con­sid­er­able so­lid­ity with the Park­head side keep­ing 10 clean sheets from 12 out­ings with the duo at the heart of de­fence. Boyata’s ham­string in­jury means Simunovic is ex­pected to come in with Benkovic con­fi­dent of main­tain­ing a strong core.

“I think we were good against Mother­well,” he said. “They got one chance and they scored in the last two or three min­utes.

“We know each other well. I’m look­ing for­ward to play­ing with him in the next games.

“I think I can have a good part­ner­ship with Jozo. We speak the same lan­guage and we know each other well.

“We must be like a team be­hind each other. I’m pos­i­tive about the over­all sit­u­a­tion.”

Mean­while, Benkovic has in­sisted that his ‘goal’ against Mother­well in Wed­nes­day night’s 1-1 draw ought to have stood.

“For me I was shocked my goal wasn’t al­lowed,” he said. “I didn’t un­der­stand what hap­pened.

“From my side I think ev­ery­thing was clear. I didn’t touch their player. But some­times the ref whis­tles what he sees.

“I asked the ref­eree why, but he said it was his de­ci­sion and that was that. I still don’t un­der­stand – but what can I do?

“Satur­day is an even more im­por­tant game for us.

“Kilmarnock have done well this sea­son and we re­spect their team. But we must look for the win in this game.

“We want to come back to win­ning ways. We are 100 per cent fo­cused on this game.”

Filip Benkovic chal­lenges Ryan Bow­man

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