Lassana Coulibaly the Glasgow Rangers midfield enforcer took a few games to convince me that he was good enough, to merit a regular starting place for the Light Blues.
He finally settled into the side, started to play exceptionally well, and all the fans were singing his praises, and quite rightly so.
Everybody was impressed with his wonderful energetic contribution to the team. The Mali internationalist brought physicality and mobility to the side and appeared to have a fantastic engine on him.
At times, he appeared to do the work of two players. One minute he was breaking up the opposition moves and the next, he was up the park trying to score goals. He looked different class and a must start performer!
Suddenly Coulibaly picks up an awkward injury, that took much longer to heal than was expected by the Rangers new medical team.
He was forced to sit out four vital games (including Celtic away) where he was very sorely missed, and the fans were convinced he would have made a big difference that day. That’s how good and highly effective he was.
Since moving to Rangers on his season-long-loan-deal, his current form has really fluctuated between outstanding to almost a passenger – what has happened to him?
When he plays well, he protects the defence, and starts off most of the attacking moves for our clever forwards to cause danger to the opposition.
There is no doubt that recently Coulibaly is at times careless with the ball and doesn’t always see the pass quickly enough, and that is a problem for some of his forwards runs.
Indecisiveness in possession has crept into his play on occasions, and he must start passing the ball quicker. The whole midfield must do it faster, especially on loan Ovie Ejaria. Stop hanging on to the ball far too long.
All the really top midfielders only require one or two touches at most to be truly effective with their accurate threaded passes, so they will have to practise it in training.
During the 82 minutes of Coulibaly’s appearance in last night’s 4-3 European loss, I was again unimpressed by his distribution, but as he is still only 22, he has time to improve loads working with Gerrard.
Coulibaly was partnered by Ovie Ejaria and Scott Arfield in midfield, but defensively I thought all three were very average.
Rangers were impressive in attack at times against a poor Spartak side, with the front three of Daniel Candeias, Alfredo Morelos, and Glenn Middleton all doing well, but the youngster was the pick of the bunch.
PS, The Ibrox club must sort out their defensive weaknesses – and soon!