Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers hailed “excellent” midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu after his performance in the defeat to Red Bull Salzburg on Thursday in the Europa League group stages.
The 31-year-old made just his second appearance for the Bhoys, as he was drafted in for injured captain Scott Brown.
Mulumbu was on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline away to the Austrian side, but the combative enforcer turned in a battling display in the centre of the park that showed he could be an important player for the club this season.
Rodgers praised his central midfielder for his efforts and feels he stepped in well for mainstay Brown.
“When Scott doesn’t play then of course it always takes away from the team,” Rodgers said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.
“But give credit to Mulumbu, I thought he did very well. He came in and worked hard. I thought he was excellent.”
Rodgers credited Mulumbu despite the European loss, but does that indicate that he is now set for a more prominent role in the first team?
He has had to be patient since moving to Parkhead this season, but there is no doubting his quality and he was one of Celtic’s best players against tough opponents Salzburg.
The midfielder does have some task to break into the side on a regular basis, as captain Brown and Olivier Ntcham are the usual pairing in the starting XI.
But he could get another chance to impress at the weekend against St Johnstone if Brown remains sidelined and could end up making himself undroppable for Rodgers.