The mysterious case of Youssouf Mulumbu and his Celtic career has become a real question mark for Celtic fans.

A Hoops career that started so promisingly with battling performances against Kilmarnock and Red Bull Salzburg, has quickly lost its sparkle.

Yes, there was a lot to like about Mulumbu. When he first joined, he was throwing himself into challenges and winning midfield battles. He was giving 100% for the cause, and impressed many who were unconvinced by his signing.

What made his impact even more impressive was how furious fans were at the previous transfer window. Celtic once again didn’t spend enough money to strengthen their squad, and have suffered for it.

Youssouf Mulumbu was this summer’s big signing (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Mulumbu was, in essence, the star-signing. Filip Benkovic may have something to say about that, but he’s only here on loan for the rest of the season.

Yet, despite Mulumbu’s impressive start, he’s been nowhere to be seen for weeks. Granted, he’s made the bench in four of Celtic’s last six league matches. His last piece of game-time, however, came in a seven-minute cameo against RB Leipzig. Despite only having a few minutes to make an impact, he lost the ball on several occasions and was suddenly thrown back out of the team.

He’s made just three appearances for the club, and two of them have come in Europe. To say he hasn’t had a fair crack at the whip would be totally accurate.

When you consider the revamp Celtic have had in midfield, he has to feel disappointed he wasn’t a part of it. Scott Brown had a prolonged spell out of the team. Yet nobody even considered Mulumbu as a viable replacement.

Ryan Christie took the spotlight that Mulumbu would’ve wanted

Instead, Ryan Christie stole any potentially available spotlight.

Mulumbu, however, simply must concentrate on the future. He still has a huge chance to make it at Celtic, and his attributes are valuable for the club.

The Winter break will give him the appropriate time to go away and work on whatever is keeping him so out of touch with the first-team.

Two of Mulumbu’s three Celtic outings have been tough Europa League matches (TF-Images/Getty Images)

He can’t afford to be complacent about his place in the squad. The truth is that he isn’t high enough ranked at the club to merit that.

There comes a point when Mulumbu has to realise this is a serious situation. It’s clear that he would’ve liked a lot more game-time than he’s managed this season. Therefore, as it stands, it’s been a failure of a move.

The quality is still there, however, and the hard-working midfielder has to find out what’s keeping him out of the picture and get it rectified.

The perfect time to do that? The next three weeks.

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