The next Celtic boss can build around Ismaila Soro, a ready-made Broony replacement

By Euan Davidson

March 25, 2021

With the news of Scott Brown’s imminent departure, there’s reason for the Celtic support to be sad.

After all, Broony won an incredible number of trophies with us. A grand total of 22, to be precise. His impact and his legacy will speak for itself. It does, however, create an opportunity.

As nostalgic as we are about Broony leaving Celtic, there were plenty of times he didn’t look right this season. When Ismaila Soro made his first start for the club, against Lille, in December 2020, we were all rather excited. The Ivorian youngster showed all the qualities of a midfield leader. Tenacity, pace, movement, passing; all attributes you could quite rightly attach to Brown, were true of Soro that night.

Soro quickly became a fan favourite. His infectious smile, and ability to score absolute screamers, helped him to win over the Celtic support. In December, when things looked much better, Soro and Turnbull represented the future of the club’s midfield.

That hasn’t changed. If anything, the next Hoops boss needs to build on Soro’s already impressive development at the club. That’s no small task, turning raw potential into a consistent performer, but Ismaila seems to have the tools at his disposal to make a real go of it at Celtic. Fans, after all, have already tipped him to replace Broony.

Ismaila Soro and Scott Brown / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Is Ismaila Soro an automatic starter without Scott Brown?

Unless the next boss doesn’t see potential in Soro’s game, for whatever reason, it’s likely the Ivorian will step into Brown’s shoes from day one. While we’ve been linked with midfield battlers like James McCarthy, it’d be an incredibly regressive and – you’d expect – unpopular move for a new boss to make.

There are certainly players out there who could fit the remit of Scott Brown’s role. Essentially, we need a ball-winning midfielder with a bit of verve to their game, excellent energy and a range of passing. Those kinds of players are incredibly expensive. Think Franck Kessié, Jorginho, Fernandinho etc. Those players don’t come cheap.

So, why attempt to replace a player with that kind of potential? It would make very little sense for whoever takes over to leave Soro out.

Ismaila Soro: absolute class / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Next Celtic boss can build around Ivorian wonderkid

Depending on how the next Bhoys boss selects his side, there are good options based around Ismaila Soro. Any coach coming in who favours a high-press, with fast counter-attacking, will surely enjoy Soro’s game.

Consider the midfielder’s impact against Dundee United in December. His 2 dribbles and 3 tackles show the versatility of his attributes. He also had 87 touches, well-distributed across the pitch. In central areas, he was absolutely dominant [WhoScored?].

Staggeringly, against top opposition in Lille, he managed 10 tackles, with 2 interceptions and 48 touches. Given the flow of that game, and the standard up against him, it’s as impressive a European performance as you’re likely to find.

These statistics indicate Soro’s willingness to defend, but also to progress the ball further. While he lacks the leadership skills of McGregor or Scott Brown, as of yet, there’s plenty of time for the defensive midfielder to learn.

So, yes, it’s sad that Scott Brown is away.

A season of Soro may await, though. It’s time to turn the raw materials into legendary status.

READ MORE: Bhoys heroes past and present line up to celebrate Broony.