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Bangura can help Celtic if they 'take care' of him, says coach

MOHAMED BANGURA'S former manager at Elfsborg believes that the striker is good enough to have a future at Celtic.

Mo Bangura played against Celtic for Elsborg in the Champions League qualifiers
Mo Bangura played against Celtic for Elsborg in the Champions League qualifiers

The Swedish club yesterday passed up the chance to sign Bangura on a permanent deal once his loan spell expires at the end of the year, meaning the 24-year-old will either have to return to Glasgow or be moved on once again by Celtic.

The Sierre Leone internationalist arrived on a four-year deal from AIK Stockholm for around £2.2m in August 2011 but failed to score in 16 appearances. He was loaned back to AIK in August last year before sent to Elfsborg on a similar deal at the start of 2013, scoring seven in 34 games.

Against Celtic's wishes, Bangura appeared against them in the third qualifying round of the Champions League this season. Although he failed to score in either leg, Jörgen Lennartsson, then the manager of Elfsborg manager, feels the player's performance in the first leg at Celtic Park in particular was evidence that Bangura can be of use to Lennon in the second half of the campaign.

"He is a quality player, there is no doubt about that," Lennartsson told Herald Sport. "The plan was always that he would go back to Scotland after one year to play again and if Celtic need that kind of player, if they work with him every day, and take care of him, I think he could go back there and do well.

"It's a bit of a step up from the Swedish league to the Scottish league but the people who saw the game between Celtic and Elfsborg saw the skill and qualities of Bangura shine through. That showed he can handle that level. As a lone striker, running up against the Celtic full-backs, you could see he had a high level of skill. I think he deserves another chance, although that will depend on Celtic's plans for him and the other options they have available."

Lennartsson admitted it had not been easy for Bangura to play in the European tie when Elfsborg wanted him to feature and Celtic did not. "He showed a great professional attitude and that he had the mental strength to handle that situation," he said. "It was two clubs who had different roles but it was Celtic who ended up in the Champions League so I guess they can't be too disappointed."

Elfsborg confirmed that remaining with them into the new year was not an option for the striker. "The agreement expires at the end of the year," said chairman Bosse Johansson. "He has one game left here and then he belongs to Celtic. What Celtic will do. I do not know. Either he will stay there or they may loan him out again.

"At the start of the season, we made a special effort to try to reach the group stage of the Champions League. We did not succeed, but part of that effort included borrowing Bangura during the year. The plan has not changed."

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