The late, great David Potter started a feature of writing about a Player of the Day from Celtic’s illustrious history. In order to do continue that legacy and pay a small tribute to David, we will continue profiling a Celtic Player of the Day…
In August 2011, Celtic paid £2.2m for the Sierra Leonean striker from Swedish side AIK amid (unfounded) 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 even kicked a ball for Celtic. This isn’t uncommon nowadays but then, Celtic were still attempting to compete with England despite the riches of the Premier League.
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. In his handful of appearances, Bangura appeared to struggle with 16 appearances and just one assist to show for his efforts. Not the return you’d expect from a superstar striker destined for the very top of the game.
It was clear that Bangura wasn’t up to it from his appearances in Scotland. Subsequent loan moves back to AIK and Elfsborg pushed him further from the Scottish Champions. In fact, Bangura returned to Paradise with loan team Elfsborg and sought to eliminate Lennon’s Celtic team from the Champions League.
This prompted Joe Ledley, a senior player under Lennon, to tell Bangura not to come back if he succeeded. This remark caused some fans to give Bangura a hostile reception upon his return. In truth it was a double edged sword for the player, who would have been desperate to show Celtic that he was capable of playing in our team.
Bangura departed in the winter of 2013 for Istanbul BBSK. Following that short term move, he rejoined AIK, signed for DL Yifang in China before he had spells with Dalkurd and Akropolis IF in Sweden.
The 34-year-old hasn’t played since December 2018 and has had a fairly unremarkable career, which is a shame. From Celtic’s point of view Mo Bangura was just another project signing who failed to make the grade and was clearly not of the standard required to play for Celtic.