Celtic man Mohamed Elyounoussi has given bench-warming Hoops midfielder Ismaila Soro a mention at today’s pre-match press conference for Sarajevo.
Elyounoussi was on media duties today as he looks to follow up his impressive performances against Riga and Hibernian with another against Sarajevo tomorrow night. The Hoops will be looking to secure progression to the Europa League group stages with a win.
One man who has a high chance of not making the starting XI however is Soro. He hasn’t once started a game for the Hoops this season, and has only been given 16 minutes out of a possible 990.
However, on-loan Southampton star Elyounoussi was happy to give him a mention, albeit briefly, at today’s pre-match presser. Speaking via Celtic TV, Moi made the following remark:
“Soro came in aswell (against Hibs) and he looked sharp. He’s been really good in training. We have a lot of quality players both in the starting XI and especially on the bench as well – I’m happy I’m not the manager. It’s healthy competition.”
Soro hasn’t put a foot wrong
Signed back in January from Bnei Yehuda, it’s unbelievable to think that Soro has only managed to play a handful of minutes. In a way, that shows just how competitive it is at Parkhead.
However, in saying that, he deserves some more game-time. Fans were especially impressed with him after his 12-minute cameo in the 5-0 rout of Ross County earlier this month. He was then given another four minutes against Hibernian as he came on as a late sub on Sunday.
What’s noticeable about Soro is that, whilst he has many of the defensive traits that Scott Brown is known for, his first instinct is to pass the ball forward and get things moving. He doesn’t look for the safe option, and that’s admirable given his situation.
Of course, after impressing in Dingwall, it looked as though he was a cert for some more game-time in the following weeks. Yet the Ivorian missed the next three matches and was barely given any time whatsoever to do some damage against Hibs on Sunday.
With David Turnbull and Olivier Ntcham constantly waiting in the wings, it’s difficult to see where Soro’s opportunity comes from. It’s not as if one strong performance guarantees you a place in this Celtic side either. You need a collection of them.
When the line-up is announced tomorrow in Riga, Soro won’t be in it. But Elyounoussi’s willingness to give him a mention hopefully bodes well for him domestically.