Boli Bolingoli to make Celtic return; his chances rated

By Euan Davidson

May 26, 2021

Boli Bolingoli had an interesting time away from Celtic.

The left-back spent the season in Turkey with İstanbul Başakşehir F.K., last season’s Super Lig champions. He enjoyed some Champions League football, and was indirectly part of a match mired in scandal [Guardian]. It was going alright for the former Rapid Vienna man, but then an injury cut him down for months.

In the meantime, İstanbul Başakşehir wallowed. Their form went off a cliff, and before long, they were looking closer at relegation than they were retaining their title. In the end, their safety was assured, in large part down to Bolingoli himself. When he returned, the side won 3 out of 6 matches, keeping 4 clean sheets [Transfermarkt].

What does this mean for us? Well, that’s less clear. At the very least, his loan spell has finished, and he’ll return to the club.

Having been jettisoned so readily by the club, he’ll have looked on with interest as the Dubai debacle unfolded. In fact, the controversial full-back even posted his own cheeky Dubai photo on his Instagram page. However, going back to his Instagram, his online presence seems to have a sense of maturity about it. Five days ago, at the time of writing, Boli was in the DR Congo on a charity mission.

Could Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo make an impact for Celtic?

Honestly? Suspend your disbelief, but I think he could.

With Diego Laxalt gone, it’s fair to say the Uruguayan was never markedly better this season than Bolingoli was in 19-20. In fact, there were times where Boli looked like Giacinto Facchetti in comparison. Yes, his behaviour was awful, and put people at risk, but he’s exactly the kind of attacking left-back we’ve needed at times this season.

Welcome back, Bolingoli? / (Photo by Kate Green/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Greg Taylor should still be the undisputed first-choice, but as a back-up, Boli more than fits the bill. In terms of faux pas committed by Celtic players, Boli’s is a daft one but it was ignorant rather than evil. He’s proven that even in a struggling outfit, he’s more than capable of making a legitimate difference.

There’ll be calls for Adam Montgomery, of course. Not least by us. However, he’s still very young, and in European games, having experience and depth is a virtue.

Of course, a new manager will be able to cast an eye over each and every squad player. If Bolingoli wants to be in this Celtic team, it’s probably up to him to perform. Get ready to change your Twitter names again, folks.

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