Ismaila Soro has touched on his struggles during Covid in Scotland as he highlighted the influence of Vakoun Bayo.
The effect of the pandemic in Scotland has meant that for the vast majority of the last 12 months, we’ve all had to stay indoors for lockdown. Something that will undoubtedly have greatly affected some of the Hoops’ foreign players.
Hatem Elhamed left the club last month due to failing to settle during the pandemic. And it looks as though Soro went through similar circumstances not long after signing. Indeed, just two months after his arrival, Scotland was plunged into the stay at home message for the first time.
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And the Ivorian midfielder believes that’s been his toughest challenge at Celtic to date. Thankfully, however, he had another countryman alongside him.
As quoted by the Glasgow Times, Soro said: “When I signed for the club I made an effort to train as hard as I could. I wanted to make sure I was ready, but it wasn’t for me to decide if I played, that was up to the coach. I needed to be ready for when that time came – I stayed in Scotland through the whole Covid lockdown. That was tough of course but I think I have a strong mentality.
“The hardest situation [so far in my career] was probably here during Covid because nobody could go anywhere. It was really hard to cope with those circumstances. Bayo was the one who helped me most during those first months. We are both Ivorian and he was the one who was closest to me when I arrived and helped me settle. So he was important during Covid.
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“Obviously Bayo left, but Odsonne (Edouard) and Christopher Jullien have also been very good to me. Having these guys around has been a real help to me.”
With Bayo now in Toulouse on a season-long loan, Soro’s biggest piece of support departed along with him. However, the Ivorian now looks more than settled in Glasgow.
Despite being in yet another lockdown, Soro continues to play and train with a smile on his face. It’s a key sign that he’s now used to life in Scotland and is adapting well to what will have been a massive change for him.
Soro has indeed taken his chance in recent months after being integrated into the team back in December. He now finds himself best-placed to take over from Scott Brown should the Celtic captain retire this summer.
The hard-hitting midfielder has found himself in and out of the team in recent weeks. But he’s a prospect valued immensely by the Celtic support and one that will have a colossal opportunity to impress in pre-season and stake his claim for more regular game-time.
John Kennedy, Celtic interim boss, gave Soro 12 minutes of action. There are still question marks over whether the new man will go with Soro between now and the end of the season or rotate him and Brown.
But one thing’s for sure – the midfielder is in a really good place at Parkhead. Any settling in problems that he initially had appear to be long gone now.