A return to the Celtic team for Mulumbu would be slap to McGregor's face

By Connor Gordon

November 8, 2018

Youssouf Mulumbu’s potential return to Celtic’s starting XI tonight against Leipzig would be a massive slap to Callum McGregor’s face.

McGregor has been playing the lone holding role since an injury crisis in that position.

The recognised attacking midfielder has shown how dynamic he is by excelling in the position.

However, Brendan Rodgers may opt to go more defensive minded by putting Mulumbu straight into the first team.

Risk playing an arguably unfit Mulumbu

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Mulumbu has also shown to be a fantastic buy as he too has put in stellar performances so far.

That said, he hasn’t played any first team football since the 6-0 trouncing of St Johnstone in October.

It won’t send a good message to McGregor if Mulumbu can walk back into his place in the starting XI.

Mulumbu will be looking to second European appearance with Celtic. (Photo by Michael Molzar/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

It perhaps could also mean McGregor moving further up the pitch with another recent stand-out replaced.

By Rodgers tinkering with the players and thus the shape of the team, this can change the mentality.

It would potentially mean McGregor playing on the left of an attacking three.

McGregor shift to attack would mean drop to bench for on-form Ryan Christie. (photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Ryan Christie currently occupies this position but he gives more pace down that side.

McGregor is a much smarter player but in European football the counter is key.

If McGregor stays where he is in the centre

As a holding midfielder, McGregor isn’t afraid to get stuck in, like Mulumbu.

McGregor has a better engine and is more likely to press his opponents for longer.

He can also chip in with a goal where Mulumbu is less likely to do so.

Celtic will lose more if Christie is dropped for McGregor than if Mulumbu replaced him.

If McGregor is dropped entirely then it would be a huge error by Rodgers.

Brendan Rodgers must choose Callum McGregor in some form (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

If Mulumbu and McGregor play as a holding two, then it’d be the first they’ve done so together.

Selecting the best players is what’ll be key to winning this evening in an all or nothing match.

It’ll be interesting to see if Rodgers is willing to take a risk.