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CELT FEARS BECOMING ‘FORGOTTEN MAN’

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BOLI BOLINGOLI became Celtic’s forgotten man when the champions focused on the ninth successive title following the mid-winter break.

Neil Lennon’s men went into 2020 in the realisation they had a challenge on their hands for yet another Premiership crown and a Scottish Cup as they attempted to clinch a phenomenal quadruple treble.

Bolingoli came off the radar following the 2-1 loss to Rangers on December 29, the Hoops’ first defeat against the Ibrox outfit in the east end of Glasgow for nine years.

Boss Lennon paid £3million for the left-back from Rapid Vienna in the summer as he prepared for Kieran Tierney’s record-breaking £25million switch to Arsenal in August.

Bolingoli started the campaign as the Hoops’ No.3, but some sloppy performances saw Jonny Hayes and Greg Taylor stake their claims and the Republic of Ireland veteran was preferred to the Belgian for the Betfred League Cup Final against Steven Gerrard’s Gers on December 8 when a goal from Christopher Jullien gave the holders their tenth consecutive domestic honour.

Taylor, who signed from Kilmarnock for £2.25million on the deadline day of September 2, was Cup-tied, but Lennon still preferred the versatile Hayes.

ON THE BALL…Boli Bolingoli tussles with Rangers’ Steven Davis for possession. 

Twenty-four-year-old Bolingoli made a rare appearance in the first team in the 3-0 Scottish Cup win over Clyde at Broadwood in February, but, otherwise, was largely overlooked, although he made 28 outings in all competitions.

Now the adventurous defender fears he could also be snubbed by Belgium manager Roberto Martinez.

The player was born in Antwerp, but is also eligible to play international football for Congo.

Bolingoli told Het Laaste Nieuws: “I feel like I’ve been forgotten in Belgium, especially compared to some people. I think my performances deserve more attention.

“I’m playing for Celtic and before that I had two good seasons with Rapid Vienna, but not much was said about it at the time.

“I’ll keep doing what I do, if they don’t want to talk about in in Belgium then so be it. I’ll remember.

“I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and then maybe they’ll talk about me.

“My aim is to become a Red Devil. I’ve heard that the assistant manager, Shaun Maloney, came to watch me.

“I believe that I’ll get my chance and next season I’ll give my all. I’ll make life difficult for the (Belgium) coach.

“Even more so now that the Euros has been postponed and, in any case, the system Belgium play is in my DNA.”

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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