After being knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers by FC Midtjylland on Wednesday night, Celtic will be hoping to end the week on a high with a win on the opening day of the Scottish Premiership season against Hearts.
The Hoops were taken to extra time by the Danish side after taking the lead in the game and eventually lost 3-2 on aggregate. Ange Postecoglou’s team will now turn their attention to domestic football this weekend as they prepare to try and reclaim Scottish superiority, beginning their campaign by traveling to Tynecastle.
Whilst the defeat to Midtjylland was borne out of several underperforming players on the pitch, Ismaila Soro produced a particularly alarming display in midfield. The Ivorian struggled to compete technically and physically on Wednesday as he failed to grasp his opportunity to make a positive impression on the Australian head coach.
As per SofaScore, Soro lost 10 of the 14 duels in which he was involved on the pitch. He came out on top in just 20% of his ground duels and 50% of his aerial duels, winning two of each. This earned him a dreadful match score of 6.1, the lowest of any player on the pitch for either team on the night.
Tom Rogic replaced him in the 98th minute and managed to score a 6.5 in 22 minutes, which hints that he did more in his 22-minute cameo than Soro produced in more than 90 minutes.
The Scottish Sun‘s David Friel gave Soro a player rating of five in his report on the game, critiquing his ability on the ball. He wrote: “Snapped into challenges and was unlucky with a few soft calls from the ref but needs to be more composed on the ball. The Ivorian is far too slack.”
Therefore, it could be time for Postecoglou to ruthlessly axe the £11k-per-week lightweight against Hearts and give another player a chance to catch the eye. Celtic will surely want to start the season on a high note and their chances of doing so could be hindered by starting Soro, with his recent poor performances suggesting that he could be a liability in midfield.
For example, Rogic could come into the side to take the Ivorian’s place, as he was able to provide a better showing than the 23-year-old during his time off the bench against Midtjylland. The Hoops boss will surely need to find a solution to the midfield problem against Hearts if he opts against picking Rogic, as Soro’s performance on Wednesday was far from the standard required for a club like Celtic.