Celtic’s 9-in-a-row’s bit-part Bhoys

WITH Celtic winning 9IAR last week, supporters were are now able to take stock of the last nine years from a personal point of view as well as from a footballing perspective. Celtic became Champions of Scotland after a blistering win at Rugby Park back in 2012 and since then, no team has been near the Premiership trophy that has been kept safely in the Celtic trophy room.

This series looks at a few forgotten names in the 9IAR winning teams and how their career transpired following their time with Celtic.


In August 2011, Celtic paid £2.2m for the Sierra Leonean striker from Swedish side AIK amidst rumours that Henrik Larsson had tipped the club to sign him.

Bangura arrived saying he wanted to ‘follow in Larsson’s footsteps’ and see where the move would take him, mentioning moves to England and Italy before he’d kicked a ball for Celtic.

Neil Lennon looked to the young striker to break into the team and compete with the formidable trio of Stokes, Hooper and Samaras. However, Bangura never got near them.

In his handful of appearances, Bangura appeared to struggle with 16 appearances and just one assist to show for it. Not the efforts of a star striker destined for the top.

Bangura’s season was ended abruptly by a knee injury but he was part of the squad that won the first title of Celtic’s 9IAR.

Despite having his contract terminated in 2014, Bangura was at the centre of a public defiance against Celtic when he decided to play against Celtic for loan club Elfsborg in the Champions League qualifiers. Bangura was booed by the support as he actively tried to knock the club out of the Champions League.

2013 – MIKU

Nicolás Fedor (or Miku) was signed on loan from Getafe as the Spanish side’s top goalscorer. It was a move that was supposed to give Celtic a competitive edge on the European stage.

Despite appearing a competent player, Miku’s return was poor and struggled to force his way into the team. The trio of Stokes, Hooper and Samaras remained the preferred options of Neil Lennon in attack and injuries allowed Miku an opportunity on a Champions League night versus Barcelona.

Miku started up front against Barcelona on a night that Celtic celebrated their 125th anniversary. The atmosphere was incredible and Miku played 90 minutes as Celtic won 2-1. The striker’s hold up play was impressive and it looked as if he might’ve proven himself in a Celtic jersey. However, it was the goalscorer, Tony Watt, that would push Miku further down the pecking order at Celtic Park.

Miku moaned about his time in retrospect but it was another poor striking signing, following on from Bangura the year before. Miku departed with a 2 goals in 14 appearances along with a League winners medal to his name.


With eight games in three seasons, Mouyokolo was signed on a free transfer from Wolves in the hope that the Frenchman could replicate the form shown in the Premier League with Hull City.

Mouyokolo’s injury concerns meant he was only given a one year deal but he was given his professional debut in a win over Aberdeen having featured in pre-season friendlies. Clearly Neil Lennon fancied him as a player as he put him together with Virgil Van Dijk for the crucial Champions League playoff versus Shakhtar Karagandy.

Credit – Getty

Following the 2-0 defeat to Karagandy, Mouyokolo suffered a ruptured Achilles and almost ending his season. He was out from August to April when he made a substitution appearance against Dundee United.

At the end of his contract, he departed having played two times in the Premiership as Celtic won 3IAR.


Aston Villa and Celtic agreed a season-long loan for Bulgarian international Aleksandar Tonev. Tonev arrived and made his debut versus Aberdeen at Celtic Park in a fierce 2-1 win for Ronny Deila’s side.

However, in the aftermath of the game, Shay Logan alleged that Tonev had racially abused him during the match. Tonev denied the allegations and the tribunal accepted Logan’s testimony handing down a seven-match ban for “using abusive language of a racist nature”. Tonev appealed but this was denied all the while maintaining his innocence.

Celtic stuck by the player despite the decision and as he was an Aston Villa player could have cut ties as this decision would effectively end his career. Recruitments came in January and Tonev fell further down the pecking order.

With Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong arriving, Tonev’s games were limited further until he got the chance in the Scottish Cup semi-final versus Inverness CT. Unfortunately for him, and Celtic, Inverness won the match 3-2 despite Celtic being denied a penalty at 1-0 for a clear handball which would have won the match.

He left the club at the end of the season as Celtic decided against exercising the option to buy. Tonev departed as a part of the four-in-a-row title winners and played a small part in the club’s success that season with 13 appearances in all competitions.

2016 – Colin Kazim-Richards

Kazim-Richards (or the Big Z) was signed with little fanfare from Feyenoord on January 31 2016 as backup to Leigh Griffiths as other backup strikers Carlton Cole and Nadir Çiftçi.

The striker made his debut with Celtic 2-0 down at half-time against Aberdeen. The then 29-year-old had little contribution in his debut apart from receiving a yellow card. He got a goal in the Scottish Cup against East Kilbride; although his performances left an awful lot to be desired.

Kazim-Richards did score a brilliant goal at Tynecastle as Celtic all-but confirmed 5IAR. He took the ball down on his chest before thundering the half volley into the net to send Ronny Deila’s side on their way in the match.

Brendan Rodgers’ arrival meant Kazim-Richards was released but there were rumours of unrest caused by ‘The Big Z’ before his departure was confirmed. His goal return and general work rate placed him in the unwanted bracket of a poor signing. Although, Kazim-Richards did play his part in the club winning the league, albeit a small part.

2017 – Nadir Çiftçi

Nadir Çiftçi was signed in the summer of 2015 from Dundee United by Ronny Deila’s Celtic; however, he struggled to make an impact, scoring 4 goals in 22 appearances. The Turkish striker would have been hoping that the arrival of Brendan Rodgers might bring out the best in him. However, across the season, he made four appearances with just one coming in the league.

Çiftçi made two surprising appearances came at the start of February 2017, shortly before his loan move to Poland. The striker’s only league appearance that season came in the 5-2 win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park. Çiftçi replaced Roberts with five minutes remaining; however, he played his part – albeit a tiny part in the league success that year.

They would prove to be his final competitive minutes for Celtic with a series of loan moves with Plymouth, Motherwell and Polish side Pogoń Szczecin. Çiftçi now plays for Turkish side Gençlerbirliği S.K. in the second division.

2018 – Kundai Benyu

Kundai Benyu was signed in 2017 by Brendan Rodgers despite his appearances coming in the National League. The move for the English born Zimbabwean was a bizarre one.

Benyu was brought into the club with the promise of being one to watch for the future but potentially being in and around the first team. His debut came against Linfield in the Champions League qualifier, which Celtic won 4-0.

Benyu didn’t have much of the ball but looked raw when he did take possession. This was amplified in his first start as Brendan Rodgers named a youthful side to play Lee McCulloch’s Killie at Rugby Park.

Celtic won 2-0 but Benyu appeared to be out of his depth. Often being crowded out despite making some nice contributions with the ball. To come in and force his way into a side that already had Stuart Armstrong, Callum McGregor, Scott Brown, Tom Rogic, Nir Bitton and the recently signed Olivier Ntcham was always going to prove to be a bridge too far.

Benyu was loaned out to Aldershot and Oldham in an attempt to get game time and also had some time over in Sweden working with Henrik Larsson. He is yet to feature since Neil Lennon took charge and his contract is to expire next year.

2019 – Youssouf Mulumbu

The veteran midfielder joined Celtic at the close of the 2018 summer window after leaving Kilmarnock. He had been a revelation for Steve Clarke’s Killie, scoring in a win over Celtic at Rugby Park earlier in the year.

Mulumbu was a free agent at the time of signing for Celtic and at the time was seen as the alternative to John McGinn who opted for Aston Villa rather than his boyhood heroes, Celtic. The signing was underwhelming and looked as if Celtic had run out of options on what was a miserable transfer window for the club – aside from signing Odsonne Edouard.

The 31-year-old made his debut at Rugby Park as Celtic fell to a late winner from Stuart Findlay. Mulumbu and Aaron Tshibola were embroiled in a number of tussles as the midfielder lost his head at times in the fixture as he felt the backlash from the home support.

Mulumbu’s involvement in the Europa League versus Salzburg proved that Mulumbu wasn’t going to be a starter at the club. Ryan Christie’s emergence as well as Celtic’s wobbly form in the league limited Mulumbu’s appearances and come the turn of the year, he was loaned to Killie again.

2020 – Moritz Bauer

Bauer made his debut at Ibrox as a second half substitution and was hacked down by Jordan Jones as Celtic won the game 2-0. Lennon preferred Elhamed and Bauer seemed to be content with a bit-part role, usually starting on the bench.

Although the emergence of Jeremie Frimpong as a starter with Elhamed out injured meant that Bauer was essentially third-choice right-back at the club. The manager tried to give Bauer some games to keep him sweet, whilst rotating his side. Bauer played a couple of Europa League games and showed himself to be a competent right back that gave his all but Elhamed and Frimpong both appeared to be more suited to Celtic’s style of play.

In total, Bauer made 13 appearances for Celtic, with 9 of those coming in the league. Despite being a bit-part player, he was another player that contributed to Celtic’s 9IAR win.

There is an honourable mention reserved for Marvin Compper, who managed to lift the 2018/19 Premiership without having featured at all. Some may look to the players as ‘flops’ but they paid their part, however small, in the success that we are enjoying. Behind closed doors and in training, they may have been helpful to the development of their teammates culminating in success on the pitch.


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About Author

Born just as Celtic were stopping the Ten, Lubo98 follows Celtic home and away and helps run his local Celtic Supporters Club. He goes to all the games and is a Law Graduate. Has a particular fondness for Tom Rogic among the current Celts and both Lubo and Henrik form his earliest Celtic memories.

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