Youssouf Mulumbu’s appearances at Celtic have been as sporadic as you could imagine.
The powerful midfielder hasn’t had the chance to get a settled run in the team. He has, however, managed two starts since arriving as a free-transfer in the summer.
The former West Brom man picked up a nasty injury that ruled him out of several of the Hoops’ matches over the last couple of weeks. It’s thrown him down the pecking order after the renaissance of Ryan Christie also.
But, if Livingston showed anything last weekend, it’s that there’s going to be plenty of fixtures where Mulumbu will be required. Against Livi, the Hoops struggled with the physical battle. Gary Holt’s men put them under plenty of pressure in the midfield, and it looked like it shocked the Celtic players.
The likes of Christie and Callum McGregor struggled with the aggressiveness of Livingston. Mulumbu, however, you have to imagine wouldn’t have. So far in a Hoops shirt, the dominating midfielder has looked well up for a scrap.
On his debut appearance against his former club Kilmarnock, Mulumbu was getting stuck in. Leaving nothing on the pitch, he refused to let any ball go without a fight
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Livi knew after the first half hour or so that they were surprising the Celtic players. Brendan Rodgers should’ve started with a surprise of his own in Mulumbu.
There’s going to be plenty of matches like Livingston after how that game played out. Celtic are going to be the target of sides looking to use their aggression and power to good effect.
Whilst this may also be the kind of contest that shows Celtic possibly do need Scott Brown in there, it’s tailor-made for Mulumbu. He was signed to be something different in the midfield. A powerful aggressor who’ll ensure teams like Livingston don’t win the physical battle.
Unfortunately for Celtic, they certainly did last Sunday. Rodgers will therefore look back on his team-selection with regret, and Mulumbu will be one he must look at as a player he should’ve thrown in at Almondvale.
The draw was no disaster, but Rodgers has to get back to using his squad and players like Mulumbu once more.