Ismaila Soro could still be crucial for Celtic boss despite slow start

By Euan Davidson

September 8, 2021

Only last season, Ismaila Soro was a Celtic player that fans absolutely adored.

In what was a horrible campaign overall, the Ivorian, with a smile permanently etched on his face, strolled through games. He unseated Bhoys legend Scott Brown for a time, and was often head and shoulders above his colleagues.

With an insatiable desire to win the ball, and move it forward just as quickly as he’d got it, Soro became an engine room unto himself at times in 20-21.

There seemed little doubt that when a new manager came, Soro would be a key part of what Celtic did next, tactically.

However, so far that hasn’t been the case. In just 136 league minutes [WhoScored?], the defensive midfielder hasn’t been entirely convincing. Something seems a little off, as if he’s not a great fit for Postecoglou’s rapid-moving attacking style.

After all, given how sluggish Celtic were last season, it was probably easier to look energetic.

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However, that won’t last forever. With the options Celtic have in the middle of the park, many supporters clamoured for someone like Ali McCann to provide a defensive thrust in midfield. Postecoglou didn’t end up pursuing that route. Quite possibly, it was because he knew he had Soro.

In his limited minutes, the Ivorian international has completed a staggering 94% of his passes [WhoScored?]. During his best game thus far, away against Jablonec, Soro was at his best. He won 10 duels, and recovered the ball 4 times [FotMob].

If he can find consistency, he can be key for Celtic.

Celtic and their fixture build-up suggests Postecoglou will find use for Ismaila Soro

If Postecoglou didn’t intend on keeping Soro, he probably wouldn’t have. In a summer of vast turnover, plenty of players moved on. That the midfielder wasn’t one of them is a good sign in itself.

Because the player that fans grew to love last season will surely get his chances to shine. With league, Premier Sports Cup and Europa League commitments in September alone, Soro surely has to get at least some run of minutes.

Admittedly, his league form (when actually playing, of course) hasn’t been as impressive as we’ve seen from him. But consistency in opportunities has to be a factor there. Coming into the season a little rusty, it could take time for Soro to find his feet.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

In games where we can’t dominate possession though, he could be crucial. If Celtic are forced to absorb some pressure, we know how fast the team can be on the break. Soro is excellent at winning the ball in central positions and finding that key pass to move the ball to attacking players.

He’s not interested in slowing anything down, and never has been for Celtic.

With McGregor and Turnbull in front of him, Soro could easily find himself dropping deeper to anchor the midfield out of possession. Then, when we have it, he’s perfectly capable of joining the attack.

Don’t write him off, yet. Ismaila Soro is a talented player. Just because he’s not a first-pick these days, it doesn’t mean Postecoglou doesn’t have him in his thoughts.

In other news: Away days are back – and Celtic have got the ticket details

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