Youssouf Mulumbu’s Celtic spot was taken by Ryan Christie, according to the Congolese midfielder.
The on-loan Kilmarnock star is back in Ayrshire looking to rediscover the form that made the Hoops move for him in the summer.
Celtic snapped Mulumbu up on a free after a sensational campaign at Rugby Park the previous season. Known for being a midfield dominator, he arrived at Celtic Park looking to add some steel to the Hoops midfield.
But the emergence of young Christie halted Mulumbu’s big chance. The former Inverness and Aberdeen star has been a consistent member of starting XIs all season, and has 33 club and country appearances to his name.
But Mulumbu, speaking in the Scottish Sun, claims that the spot Christie’s holding is the one he could’ve had.
“It was hard at Celtic. You are going into a team which is winning every game and you see players like Ryan Chistie, who deserved to play, get his chance.
“I was frustrated, but I was also happy for Ryan because he and I were in the same situation.
“You could say he took my spot, but he really deserved it and I just tried to stay fit. I spoke with the gaffer at Celtic and he said if I could get some games on loan, he’d let me go.”
No malice, and don’t rule out a return
It was only two days ago that Mulumbu was playing his first full 90 minutes since leaving Killie the first time around. He was recognised for his dominant performance against Rangers by his team-mates. You can read our story on that here.
And it’s clear he has absolutely no malice towards Christie here either. It’s simply losing a case of losing out in the competition for places.
As Christie continues to thrive at Parkhead, however, it’s down to Mulumbu to step up. He needs to catch the eye once more if he’s to have any hope of making it at Celtic Park.
Despite clearly hoping to come back and fight for his position, Brendan Rodgers labelled him a “support player” back in January. It’s therefore clear the midfielder needs to change Rodgers’ mind over the next few months.
When Mulumbu returns at the season, he’ll have one year to go on his contract. The big question now is whether he can make an impact before Rodgers chooses to let him go permanently.