Steve Clarke is banking on Youssouf Mulumbu giving Kilmarnock’s season a timely boost.
The midfielder returned to Rugby Park on loan on the final day of the transfer window after failing to make any impact at Celtic.
Last season the former West Brom and Norwich midfielder was one of the driving forces behind Kilmarnock’s revival as Clarke lifted the club from the relegation battle to fifth spot in the Premiership.
Mulumbu was a match for any midfielder in the top flight but after taking one point from six in the games against Aberdeen and Hearts, the Killie boss is looking forward to getting his loan signing back into action.
“I think he was late on his first day, so it was a case of Youssouf is back!” Clarke said as quoted by The Daily Record. “He’s has never been one to stand out in training. He is a game player.
“Youssouf needs the big pitch and the game mentality before he comes to his best. We have two games this week so, if he doesn’t make the first, he will be fit for the second.”
Kilmarnock are at Dundee on Wednesday night and then host Rangers on Saturday in the Scottish Cup.
When Mulumbu joined Celtic at the end of August it looked like a cut price solution to a long-term issue.
The 32-year-old did make a reasonable impression in his three Celtic appearances but the emergence of Ryan Christie in the autumn closed the door on his Parkhead prospects.
Celtic head to Kilmarnock on February 17th, between the Europa League ties with Valencia, but Mulumbu will sit that one out as part of his loan agreement.