Neil Lennon has praised Ismaila Soro for his recent displays in the midfield for Celtic. The Ivorian midfielder arrived almost a year ago but has only started making an impression in the first team in recent weeks. The 22-year-old joined from Israeli side Bnei Yehuda on a four-and-a-half-year deal and said that he modelled himself on N’Golo Kante of Chelsea when he first arrived. Celtic fans are getting to see what he means by that with sound positioning, breaking up play and tidy passing.
Speaking to the Scottish Sun, Lennon was full of praise for Soro saying that he will continue to get better.
“Soro is living on his own over here and we had to take our time with him. But he has done really well in the last few games and he gets better as matches go on.
“His passing is crisp and he covers the ground well. He’s a happy lad. He always has a smile on his face and he’s enjoying it.”
Soro was replaced for the Scottish Cup Final with captain Scott Brown returning to the first team fold but Lennon said that was a result of Soro getting food poisoning. The 35-year-old came into the fold and was impressive as Celtic fought to penalties to seal the Quadruple Treble – a world first in professional football.
“We couldn’t start him in the Scottish Cup final because he came down with food poisoning on the Saturday night. I told him he isn’t allowed to cook again — he must eat in the canteen!
“He had sickness and diarrhoea the night before, although he felt better in the morning.
“Soro still has to mature a bit in that sense but he will learn.”
The manager believes that Soro and the current crop of young players will continue to improve and get better as they play games. There is a core of young players around the first team that have been exposed to success and hopefully can be influenced by the experienced first team players.
“He’s only 22 and, you know what, I was actually thinking about how young the team is during the week.
“Conor Hazard, Jeremie Frimpong, Kris Ajer, Greg Taylor, Soro, David Turnbull, Mikey Johnston and Odsonne Edouard are all young lads.
“We have a lot of boys in their early 20s who have been very successful and are hungry for more.”
Celtic face Hamilton Accies in the 3pm kick-off at the FOYS Stadium and will be hoping to continue their resurgence this season after a poor run of results saw an exit to the Europa League, League Cup and falling behind Rangers in the title race.