The forgotten Boli Bolingoli helps save Turkish club from relegation ahead of Celtic return

By David Walton

May 17, 2021

The forgotten Boli Bolingoli has managed to spark a revival from Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir as the Celtic man helped them avoid relegation.

Boli was case out to Turkey back in August after breaching Scottish Covid rules. It was a horrendous move for both the club and the player, giving Celtic in particular a major PR disaster.

Things didn’t seem to get much better for the Belgian after joining Istanbul either. Despite a promising start, he suffered a horrendous knee injury that kept him out of action for four months. During that period, Istanbul, who had been competing in the Champions League this season, saw their form decline in rapid form.

Boli only made his return to the starting XI back in late April. His side had been on a shocking run of only three wins in 17 games – leaking goals all over the place [Transfermarkt].

However, Bolingoli’s return sparked a six-game unbeaten run, with three clean sheets in those matches too. Boli kept his place for the final weeks of the season, with 12 points from six games enough for Basaksehir to see off relegation in convincing fashion.

What next for Boli Bolingoli? Is his Celtic career truly dead?

So mission accomplished for Boli. His goal when he returned would’ve been to get a run of games under his belt and ensure his side stayed in the Turkish top flight. Not that it’s a major achievement of course. If anything, relegation for Istanbul would’ve been an incredible embarrassment given they won the title only last season.

But considering the pressure he would’ve been under, you have to tip your hat off to him. He’ll end his campaign pleased that he’s recovered from his injury and seemingly back to his best.

Looking forward, it’s difficult to know what the future holds for him. The Daily Record reported in September that Istanbul have an option to buy him. However, there’s been no indication that they’re set to take it up even with all of their games now played. It could easily be the case that his injury woes have put them off.

Boli Bolingoli in action against Manchester United (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)

However, a Celtic return looks even more tricky to get to grips with. After all, he’s not a popular figure with supporters given his disastrous move back in August. It put us on the back foot in the title race immediately, and that hasn’t been forgotten. Many won’t welcome him back whatsoever because of it.

But as things stand, he’s scheduled to return. And unfortunately for those that want him gone permanently, we have a left-back shortage. It could easily be the case that Eddie Howe or whoever the new manager is wants to have a look at him. At least before we decide whether to splash the cash on a left-back.

Boli’s problem, however, is that he was underperforming before he even left the club. He wasn’t one of our bigger stars and had already lost his place to Greg Taylor. So there’s no overwhelming demand for him to be brought back and reintroduced to things. It’s certainly going to be an interesting next few months for the Belgian.

In other news, Ivan Toney could do Celtic a big favour tonight.