Why tonight is a big moment for Youssouf Mulumbu and his Celtic career
It’s barely been touched upon by many, but tonight is a massive moment in Youssouf Mulumbu’s Celtic career.
The Congolese midfielder was ineligible to play against the Hoops on Sunday. The veteran had to deal with watching the clash from the sidelines, as he watched his parent club take a vital three points.
He also had to watch Scott Brown hammer home the goal that gave Celtic three points. Brown is one of several players keeping Mulumbu out of the Celtic team, and on Sunday he had no opportunity to upstage them. But tonight that changes.
Mulumbu has the chance to do what his Celtic superiors couldn’t. He’ll take the trip to Ibrox Park with Kilmarnock looking to outfight the Rangers midfield at Ibrox. In a highly-anticipated Scottish Cup last-16 replay, Kilmarnock will be looking to spring a shock and oust Rangers from the cup.
The Celtic-owned midfielder is likely going to play a big part tonight. He started the original tie at Rugby Park earlier this month. Mulumbu posted his delight on social media after the game, after what was a starring show in the 0-0 draw.
A class apart in the last meeting
Up against the likes of Ryan Jack and Ross McCrorie in the Rangers midfield, Mulumbu was a class apart. Despite being frozen out of the Hoops squad, he did what the Celtic midfield failed to do at Ibrox and got stuck into Rangers’ engine-room.
But tonight, at Ibrox, he’ll be looking to prove a massive point once again. Celtic failed to lay a glove on the Ibrox side last December. Therefore, if Mulumbu can win the midfield duel at Ibrox just as he did at Rugby Park, Brendan Rodgers has to be impressed.
Given the fact he’ll be ineligible to face Celtic, Rangers is the highest-profile opponent he can impress against. If he fails to look convincing, it’ll be difficult to make a case for him being good enough at Parkhead.
But two man-of-the-match displays against Rangers in a row? Well that would have to make Rodgers bat an eyelid at least.