JOZO Simunovic helped Celtic to become The Invincibles by going undefeated in every domestic competition and winning their fourth treble two seasons ago.

On Thursday night at Parkhead he will have entirely the opposite objective – ending the remarkable unbeaten run of Red Bull Salzburg.

The Austrian club have played 28 games without suffering a defeat in the 2018/19 campaign - having won 24 of them - and have triumphed in all five of their matches in Group B.

Marco Rose’s players, then, will be determined not to suffer a loss even though their place in the knockout rounds of the competition they reached the semi-finals of last term is already assured.

Yet, Simunovic, who has been restored to the Celtic starting line-up as a result of injuries to Kristoffer Ajer and Dedryck Boyata, believes his side can inflict a first defeat on their opponents and progress.

He feels the Red Bull-sponsored visitors won’t have played in as intimidating an environment as Celtic Park - which is set to be full to its 58,000 capacity.

The Croatia-born centre-half has seen how some of Europe’s richest and most revered clubs have struggled to perform in the atmosphere at Parkhead before and feels Salzburg may too.

“If our fans can have an effect on Manchester City and other teams we’ve played in the past few years, I'm sure it can have an effect on Salzburg as well,” he said.

“It’ll be an amazing atmosphere. It's the final game in the group and it’ll be big. We want to stop their run if it's possible. That’s a motivation for us."

Brendan Rodgers’ men only need to draw to finish ahead of German rivals RB Leipzig in their section and go through to the last 32 of the competition for the second season running. But Simunovic stressed they would be looking to win their fourth group game outright.

“We’re not thinking about that,” he said. “We have to play for a win.”

The 24-year-old is hoping to be involved in Celtic’s push for an unprecedented third consecutive treble in the months ahead now he is back in the side.

However, he knows how important European football is to the Scottish champions given their proud history in continental competition and stressed beating Salzburg and progressing is very much a priority.

“It would be good for us,” he said. “It means a lot to get through the group stage and still be in European competition into the new year. We’ll be giving everything on Thursday night to achieve that. It won’t be easy. Salzburg have been the best team in the group for sure. But our stadium’s no favourite for any team to come to, and we want to win this game, simple as that.”

Simunovic looked on from the bench in Austria in October as Salzburg recovered from losing an early goal to Odsonne Edouard to triumph 3-1 thanks to a second-half double from Munas Dabour. But Celtic were missing Ajer, Filip Benkovic, Scott Brown and Tom Rogic that night and Jack Hendry and Youssouf Mulumbu both started in an unfamiliar line-up.

Simunovic, who was himself not risked due to the fact he was returning from injury, feels the game in Glasgow will be less one-sided, due to the presence of his captain Brown in particular.

“For sure it's nice to have Broony back, no doubt about that,” he said. “He’s the legend of this club, but the gaffer will still put the team on the park he thinks is right, and those of us who are playing will want to win.”

The defender will have a difficult evening nullifying the threat posed by Israeli striker Munas Dabbur, who has netted 15 goals for club and country this season, but he is unfazed by the prospect.

“For sure they have quality players,” he said. “He may have scored against us over the there, but, again, we can't compare the game over there to the one on our field. It won’t be the same.”

Simunovic is set to partner Benkovic, who he played alongside at Dinamo Zagreb in their native Croatia before joining Celtic three years ago, in the back line once again against Salzburg. He is hopeful that together they will be able to help repel the visitors due to the friendship they have off the park and the affinity they have quickly developed on it.

“He's a quality player and we played a little for our last club together as well, maybe one or two games,” he said. “I was with him on his debut and talking him through it, so this is us reunited. We know each other really well, so we just need more games to get ourselves more compact, get our understanding better, but that will come for sure.”