Celtic midfielder Yossouf Mulumbu admits the form of Ryan Christie is what drove him to seek first-team football elsewhere and leave the club to join Kilmarnock on loan in January.
The 32-year-old joined the Hoops on a free transfer last summer but made just a handful of appearances before disappearing from matchday squads, with the emergence of Christie pushing him well down the midfield pecking order.
He has re-joined Killie at Rugby Park, making two appearances against Dundee and Rangers already.
The DR Congo international has admitted life was tough at Celtic Park, but still sees a future for himself there.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, Mulumbu said:
It was hard at Celtic. You are going into a team which is winning every game and you see players like Ryan Chistie, who deserved to play, get his chance. I was frustrated, but I was also happy for Ryan because he and I were in the same situation. You could say he took my spot, but he really deserved it and I just tried to stay fit.
I spoke with the gaffer at Celtic and he said if I could get some games on loan, he’d let me go.
We’re on good terms and I came back to Kilmarnock with confidence and a little bit of disappointment. So I need to show I’m a good player and that’s what I intend to do. I don’t regret making the move. Celtic are a great club and my team-mates were amazing.
In my head, it’s not over for me at Celtic. If you speak with Brendan Rodgers and the lads, they know I want to go back and do great things for them.
The reality is that Mulumbu will do little in a Celtic shirt next season when he returns on loan. Other options mean getting a game is unlikely except in the most serious of injury crises.
With his contract set to expire next year, I’d expect the player either to leave again on loan in the summer or even move permanently.
His age means he doesn’t have the kind of potential that a player like Christie or Callum McGregor has, who both returned from loan to make a first-team impact.
Hopefully his form at Killie in the second half of this season allows him to win a transfer elsewhere.