Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli has certainly had a bit of a fall from grace since the winter break, but the football shutdown could, therefore, prove to be a positive for him.
The season was petering out for Boli individually. Since the winter break, Neil Lennon has only played him in our Scottish Cup clash with Clyde at Broadwood. Outside of that, Boli has been on the sidelines and forced to watch Greg Taylor take his spot.
In the Premiership, Boli hasn’t been given a single start since December’s 2-1 home loss to Rangers. In fact, worse than that, he hasn’t even played a single minute of top division action (Transfermarkt).
Lennon always came across a tad cagey in explaining why the Belgian had been shut out from action. Speaking about the issue back in January, the Celtic boss simply stated that he was having some time out to rediscover his form (Daily Record).
Yet fast forward another two months and he still hasn’t been given a game against top-flight opposition. When Lennon needs to make a change at left-back or at left wing-back, it’s often Jonny Hayes that’s been given the opportunity instead of Boli.
Extended break is a chance to hit the restart button
Nobody knows when football in Scotland will return. However, Boli can use this to his advantage by working on his game and clearing his head before we return to action.
Whenever the season resumes, or if we have to wait until the 2020-21 campaign to play our football, many players will be well short of match-sharpness if not the full squad. That’s where Boli will need to strike and try to outshine Taylor and co at Lennoxtown.
As things stood, there was next to no chance that Boli was playing between now and the end of the season. There was no need for the manager to mix things up in his position. With no glaring concerns in Taylor or Hayes’ displays, there was no reason for the Belgian to be reintroduced.
But there’s no denying that many players will be hitting the refresh button before coming back to Lennoxtown. It’ll be down to them to prove to Lennon that they deserve to return to the starting line-up for future matches. As things stand, both Taylor and Hayes have been nothing more than reliable. They haven’t been outstanding.
Boli finally has his opening with this break from football to pick himself up and return to Lennoxtown a reinvigorated player. That’s what it’s going to take for Lennon to change his mind at left-back.
Whether that comes to fruition remains to be seen. There’s still plenty of speculation on what will happen to the season, but Boli may not have run his race in it just yet.