After a stuttering start Boli Bolingoli has settled into life at Parkhead and now believes he is the man with the jersey claiming “he won’t be budged” from his left-back berth in The Daily Record.
Bolingoli was bought to fill the sizeable hole left behind when Kieran Tierney was sold to Arsenal for £25m and initially there were doubts as to whether he was actually a left-back at all given his defensive lapses and attacking prowess.
He had a few early mistakes and appeared to be struggling with the pressure of playing for his new club. Some even began to question whether or not Celtic had made a mistake with the signing. Bolingoli impressed on his home debut against Sarajevo but was also at fault for the visitor’s goal as reported by The Belfast Telegraph. The left-back said after the match:
“The goal was my fault, that can always happen but we have to avoid these kind of mistakes at the back. I am happy that my team-mates helped me and we got the win.
“I am still learning. In my youth I was an offensive player and I am still learning my defensive parts. I know that I still need to progress in my defensive part but I have to do better. I’m a left-back so the first thing is defending”.
With doubts still surrounding Bolingoli, Celtic boss Neil Lennon went out and bought Greg Taylor from Kilmarnock on the last day of the transfer window. A player who knows the league, has been capped by Scotland and is a natural defender.
Bolingoli has embraced the challenge and performed well in two of Celtic’s biggest games this season against both AIK Stockholm and Rangers. He knows he has a challenge on his hands but is backing himself to make the jersey his own.
Celtic are a team that dominates possession and Bolingoli is the ideal player to support the attack from deep. His pace and power has caused opposition defences problems already and with extra work on the training field Taylor and stand-in full-back Jonny Hayes may find themselves playing second fiddle to the popular Belgian.
Possession is 9/10ths of the law and Bolingoli is the man holding onto the starting spot, with the 24-year-old “focussing on the football” few would bet against him letting go.