Celtic's left-back spot has heated up beautifully

By David Walton

September 9, 2019

Celtic’s left-back spot looked like it could potentially be Greg Taylor’s, but surely that’s now in doubt?

The Hoops reportedly splashed out £3million to sign the former Kilmarnock full-back from Ayrshire on deadline-day (The Herald). It was a bit of a badly kept secret that he would eventually arrive at Parkhead before the window closed. However, it’s fair to say that the perception of his first-team chances changed dramatically just one day before he signed.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the signing of rival left-back Bolingoli was looking like a failure. Early doors there looked to be plenty of concerns. He featured in seven out of our eight Champions League qualifying matches. In all of them, he looked shaky on the ball and there to be got at when defending one-v-one.

Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo started out nervy, but now seems more assured (Jonas Ekstromer/AFP/Getty Images)

There had been some promising signs in the run-up to the Rangers game last Sunday. Against AIK in our Europa League playoff tie, Boli looked a lot more comfortable. He looked settled. And even though it wasn’t enough to restore total confidence in him for Sunday, it was at least something positive.

Then, out of nowhere, he produced his best display in a Celtic jersey at Ibrox. His part in the 2-0 victory was monumental. He was tasked with effectively keeping the likes of Joe Aribo and Sheyi Ojo quiet at times. Not once did Rangers get any joy from him either. There wasn’t a loose pass or a moment of any level of madness. He was as assertive as any full-back could hope to be in that environment.

The left-back spot is up for grabs

And all of a sudden, it’s changed the whole complexion of the left-back chase. Taylor looked a signing we desperately needed due to the nervousness and inconsistency of Boli. Now? There’s a real fight on both players’ hands after Boli’s Ibrox display.

Greg Taylor (left) now has a real battle on his hands to displace Boli (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Sure, Boli could go back to making an error or two against Hamilton on Saturday. But the point is we know the level he can now operate at. We can see why Rapid Vienna rated him so highly. We can see why the club splashed out a reported £3m on his services (The Herald). Confidence from supporters in his ability has soared after Ibrox, and throwing Taylor in ahead of him would now surely raise some eyebrows.

Taylor, of course, won’t be at Parkhead to sit back and watch Boli strut his stuff. He’ll have his eyes firmly on displacing the Belgian. But it doesn’t look as straightforward as it may have done a few weeks ago.

Boli never gave Rangers a minute on Sunday (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The battle is on for the left-back spot. The key question of who will be our number one for the campaign ahead doesn’t look as probable as it did before Ibrox.

Boli has put himself right up there in the eyes of many supporters. The big question now is whether he can stay consistent. But after what he showed last Sunday, it would take a brave fan to bet against him.