It's time for Neil Lennon to give Ismaila Soro a proper Celtic chance

By Euan Davidson

December 4, 2020

We’ve spoken at length about Scott Brown and Callum McGregor this season. Only yesterday, Stephen Craigan spoke about the captain’s overuse in 20-21 and we agreed.

Our neighbours south of the Clyde are rotating their midfield to great effect, with Kamara, Jack, Davis and Zungu all seeing regular game-time in blue. The current league leaders don’t need any praise from us – nor are we wont to give it – but they’ve at least got that part right.

Therefore, Ismaila Soro should be allowed to build on an impressive cameo in the Europa League last night.

Soro looks forlorn at full time v A.C. Milan / (Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Impressive in a cameo role

Entering play at the 78-minute mark, in the place of Scott Brown, Soro calmed things down in the middle of the park. Celtic, to their credit, managed to stop Franck Kessié, while Krunic had a shocker.

During his 12 minutes of action, Soro passed the ball well, completing 100% of his passes and not giving the ball away once (WhoScored?). His assured play was one of few highlights late on for the Bhoys, in what was a very strange game overall.

While the defensive midfielder isn’t the answer to all of our problems, he should at least be playing more. Celtic fans want it, Soro wants it, and pundits are baffled as to why it’s not happening.

Scott Brown, who actually did very well against Milan, can’t play every minute for Celtic. Our captain is 35-years-old and has looked every minute of his age this season. His conditioning and work rate are second to none, but much younger players would struggle with his workload.

Scott Brown: in need of a rest / (Photo by Andrea Bruno Diodato/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Keeping an eye on the road

Lennon needs to have an eye on the future, regardless of his current stock. With that in mind, Scott Brown’s minutes need to be reduced, and Soro must be selected to step up.

He’s a player who can break up play, move the ball on quickly and allow McGregor some freedom to explore space in the opposition third.

St. Johnstone is normally a tricky fixture, but the Ivorian should be thrown in ahead of Brown. Again, our captain needs to be rested if we want the best out of him overall. Against Ali McCann, who has been linked with Celtic, Soro could find some joy facing the ambitious, ball-carrying Northern Irish midfielder.

Alongside him, there’s definitely room for David Turnbull to build on his promising start in Green and White. Lennon’s reluctance to start youngsters over the course of the season has been to Celtic’s detriment.

While not trying to add further fuel to the #LennyOut debate, it’s a concern that youngsters haven’t been given chances. Considering the fixture build-up Celtic have faced and will continue to battle, squad rotation should be more of a priority.

We’ve wasted the talents of young midfielders recently. Eboué Kouassi never really got a look in, while Lewis Morgan is currently impressing MLS fans. To add Soro to that list would be a real shame.

That said, if the January 2020 signing (BBC) can’t get game time, he’ll look elsewhere. Nobody would blame him for that.

Let’s give him a start and see what he can do. The chance to add freshness and dynamism to the team is surely too good to pass up at this moment in time.