Celtic have been dealt a lot of curveballs this 2020/21 season. In what they hoped would be their tenth consecutive Scottish Premiership title, they have instead been constantly in their neighbours’ shadow. Rangers are running away with the league this season and lead the reigning champions by 18 points.
The Hoops also suffered a huge blow in their Europa League run, crashing out of the competition in the group stages after finishing rock bottom of Group H. They managed to tally just four points from six games and conceded the joint most amount of goals (19). Only Ludogorets and Dundalk shipped the same amount, which reflects very poorly on the Scottish giants.
Should Neil Lennon be sacked?
Since then however, Neil Lennon has been throwing wild cards at his squad in hopes to resurrect their poor form. David Turnbull has been a star in Celtic’s midfield, popping up with six goals and five assists in the Premiership since his emergence into the first team.
Similarly, the boss took a punt on promoting Stephen Welsh, who has also hugely impressed in his centre-back role.
Ismaila Soro was handed some big chances to operate in the Celtic midfield too, but hasn’t become a nailed-on starter like Turnbull. The £12,500 per week 22-year-old has featured just 13 times in the Premiership this season and despite starting ten matches on the bounce, Soro was left on the bench for the last two fixtures, according to Transfermarkt.
Since his emergence onto the scene, he has nudged Scott Brown out of the limelight, save for the last couple of matches. On paper, the younger midfield dynamo comes out better than the Celtic skipper in several of his statistics. According to WhoScored, Soro has a higher passing accuracy on average (90.3%) than Brown (88.8%) this season, suggesting he’s got that extra bit of composure and control on the ball.
He also averages more tackles (2) and long balls (2.4) per game than his captain with 1.4 and 2 respectively. His fine balance between picking out long passes and defending the Celtic backline makes him a solid option at Lennon’s disposal, and someone who wouldn’t just be there to gain experience.
He’s already shown he can play at this level, producing some stand-out displays in the time that he’s been on the pitch, not least after a masterclass against Hamilton just last month.
Frank McAvennie also believes that Brown should be axed in favour of the up and coming Soro. He recently admitted to Football Insider that he believes the midfield and Turnbull are “the future” of Celtic, adding: “I am a massive fan of Scott Brown but he should be playing less. They need to let Soro play more. He should be given a rest and let Soro play the majority of games. Sometimes they should take Brown off and save his legs.”
Starting with the game against Aberdeen on Wednesday night, Lennon must bring Soro straight back into the starting line-up at the expense of Celtic’s veteran midfielder.
The Hoops’ dismal campaign this season is calling out for a rebuild, and playing the 22-year-old Soro and giving him more first-team opportunities is one big way of doing that.