Vakoun Issouf Bayo’s happiness at Celtic has increased due to gaining a higher amount of game-time.
The Ivorian has been trusted by Neil Lennon in recent weeks to make an impact in a Hoops jersey. So far, Bayo has been given two starts for Celtic and has one goal to his name in this campaign. Overall, however, the big forward has made nine appearances in total this season.
That’s far more than the one substitute appearance he made last season under Brendan Rodgers. Bayo only joined the club last January, and was given his first run out in the closing stages at Rugby Park last February. He then ruptured his hamstring on international duty with the Ivory Coast under-21s. That ruled him out for the rest of the 2018/19 season.
But now he’s only looking forward after a positive start to the season. Speaking in the Celtic View (Volume 55, Issue 15, Page 21), Bayo spoke of how happy he now is in Glasgow.
“I’m happy because I’m getting more minutes now. That wasn’t happening last season and earlier this season.
“I was injured for a while so that meant I couldn’t play. I’m really happy with the minutes I’m getting because I’m playing football which is what I love.
“There’s an increase in the time I’m getting but I always want to play more. I always try to make an impact and I believe I can. If I start games, I will have more time to show what I can do and hopefully I can earn that opportunity now.”
Bayo’s happiness has increased, but will starts follow?
It’s clear Bayo is in a good place mentally. Coming off a pretty brutal end to last season could’ve had him sulking heading into the new campaign. However, credit has to go to the big man for how he’s bounced back and become a regular substitute.
The next step for him is to start trying to put some pressure on Odsonne Edouard. That’s easier said than done of course. French Eddy has just scored his ninth France under-21 goal in four games. His stock is sky-high, whilst Bayo’s is currently nowhere near that level of profile.
But he does seem to have shrugged off the challenge of Leigh Griffiths for now. Bayo has recently been getting called on ahead of the Scotland international. Whilst that will be a concern for Griff when he returns from injury, it’s tremendous faith for Bayo.
As we head into a packed winter schedule that could see us playing nine games in total, Bayo will be needed. He’s regularly seen by Lennon as a good option to go long with. Added to that, he’s managed to impress with his movement and hold-up play too.
This is perhaps the most crucial part of his Celtic career so far. He’s done the integrating when it comes to bedding into a new country and football style. Now it’s time for him to start showing what he’s got over the next two months.
Celtic need their full squad to make a success of our nine-in-a-row push. Bayo, whilst not a regular starter at the moment, is going to be key to that.