Soro bosses Lille at Celtic Park; now in driving seat to replace Brown

By David Walton

December 10, 2020

Ismaila Soro was given his first 90 minutes of the season tonight and produced one of the best individual performances we’ve seen from a Celtic player all campaign.

The former Bnei Yehuda midfielder was entrusted by Neil Lennon to feature against Lille in tonight’s Europa League dead-rubber. Yes, the game didn’t have too much meaning in terms of the competition, but it was key for boosting our morale.

David Turnbull shined whilst Patryk Klimala also looked lively as Lennon rang the changes tonight. However, for me, the absolute standout this evening was Soro.

Operating in Brown’s defensive-midfield role, the Ivorian bossed the likes of Boubakary Soumare and Xeka who just couldn’t get anything going in the engine room for Lille.

Soro was battling away and picking up so many loose balls or forcing Lille into slack passes that were picked up by his Hoops team-mates. However, what was most important about how he managed to break up the play without conceding any notable fouls.

So many of the midfielder’s challenges were clean. Contrast that to Scott Brown’s recent performances, where he gave away a clumsy penalty against Hibernian and consistently concedes needless free-kicks.

Soro even came out in the second half and looked more impressive, making vital blocks to deny the likes of Soumare and Timo Weah in what looked like big opportunities for the visitors.

The truth is Brown has been slowing up for some time and his all-round game is becoming messier by the week. This has had a direct result on results in recent times, and tonight’s win against Lille should be enough evidence for the manager to make the brave decision.

Celtic host Kilmarnock in the Premiership on Sunday. Lennon will undoubtedly feel a temptation to throw Brown in, but it can’t happen. Soro is Brown’s natural long-term successor if he can put performances like this in on a consistent basis. The only way we’re going to find out whether he can produce that is by giving him the opportunities.

Ismaila Soro in action for Celtic vs Lille / (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

If he can produce against the side sitting two points behind the top of Ligue 1, he can produce against Kilmarnock at Celtic Park.

And it appears as though the supporters were left delighted with what they saw from Celtic’s January signing. Here’s a look at some of the reaction to his display:

https://twitter.com/aboutceltic/status/1337137585295155207