CHRISTOPHER JULLIEN admits that the winter break has come at a good time for both him and for Celtic after a gruelling opening half of the campaign, and he believes that the rest will leave them physically and mentally recharged for a huge push towards the title.

Jullien has been slightly taken aback by the volume of fixtures he and the club have had to play since arriving from Toulouse in the summer, and particularly around the hectic festive season.

Some of Celtic’s key men looked jaded as they were deservedly beaten by Rangers on Sunday, and the big defender has acknowledged that the three-week winter break is more than welcome as their players look to reset and refocus for the challenges ahead.

“It will be huge for me personally and for the team,” Jullien said. “For me, it will be nice to get a rest after playing in so many games. It will also be good to spend some time with the family and just take a break.

“For the team, it’s about recharging the batteries and being ready for the next part of the season.

“When I came here I didn’t expect to play in so many games. I have enjoyed it because you want to play as much as possible, but it will be good to take a break.

“It’s not just a physical rest – it’s also mentally. I think that comes with experience. You know when you have the days off to just put football out of your mind. It can be good for you, to think about doing something else for a short time.

“I know we will get back to work and train in Dubai. But at that moment we will have the championship and the rest of the season firmly in our minds.

“Before then there also will be a few days when we can cut off from football and spend time with the family and that will help everyone.”

Despite the setback in losing to Rangers at Celtic Park, Jullien feels there are huge grounds for optimism at Celtic going into the second half of the campaign.

And he thinks that the winning mentality that has been instilled at Celtic over the last few seasons can help them to rise to the challenge being laid down from the other side of the city, just as it did at this point last season after defeat at Ibrox.

“There is so much to look forward to in the second half of the season,” he said. “It’s going to be a great challenge for us.

“We know we are still in front in the championship and we are in a good position.

“But football can change very quickly. Everyone moves so fast so we still have to be really focused on what is ahead of us.

“I am sure with the talent we have here, whether it’s the players or the staff, everyone will be doing a good job.

“That’s been the case since the start of the year and we will enjoy the winter break and then restart with exactly the same attitude.”

Meanwhile, Jullien’s compatriot and Celtic teammate Odsonne Edouard has been named in’s ‘Fifty for the future’ list, which highlights the most promising young players to look out for in 2020.

Edouard was named alongside other precocious talents such as Barcelona’s Ansu Fati, Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood and Inter’s Alessandro Bastoni as one of the continent’s foremost rising stars, decribing the 21-year-old as “strong, athletic and deceptively quick, the ex-Paris trainee links play well and is ice-cool in front of goal; a U21 star for France, he ended 2019 top scorer in Scotland.”