AFTER a transfer saga that dragged on so long that Celtic supporters began to doubt the very existence of Ismaila Soro, they will have been relieved to see the man himself in the Hoops yesterday holding a green and white scarf aloft.

Proving he is the real deal on the football pitch is his next task, and those Celtic fans will be very much hoping that the 21-year-old rewards their patience.

The defensive midfielder finally checked into Celtic Park yesterday after sealing a £2million move from Israeli side Bnei Yehudan following the granting of a work permit, having already passed a medical last week.

With the signing now complete, the unforgiving judges on the terraces will not be so slow to determine whether they have a long-term successor to Scott Brown on their hands, or perhaps just another expensive mistake like Eboue Kouassi.

Brown may well be happy to see his new teammate check into training at Lennoxtown for the first time today in any case, and be eager to see if he is up to the standard required to give him a much-needed rest now and again.

Celtic’s win over Ross County on Saturday after all marked Brown’s 39th appearance of the season already, and while he shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 34, it may benefit the club captain to sit out the odd fixture if the arrival of Soro can ease Neil Lennon’s reliance on his skipper.

At just 26, Callum McGregor is a mere nipper by comparison, but he has featured even more frequently for the champions, playing 45 games already as he maintains his position as the most-used player in world football in terms of minutes played for the second season in succession.

While obviously keen to make a good first impression, Soro says he is willing to exercise patience when it comes to making his mark on the starting XI.

“I want to settle into the team and give everything for the manager in training,” he said. “I understand that breaking into the team will happen in stages and I’m prepared to be patient as I work towards this.

“I’m confident that I will settle quickly and impress the manager enough to earn the chance to play.”

That all sounds rather far removed from the noises coming out of Israel yesterday, where Soro was reported to have commented on his desire to use the Scottish game as a stepping-stone towards the English Premier League. Specifically, to Liverpool, so we know he isn’t lacking in confidence.

That may be a logical way to look at the transfer, and all parties involved know that is a major selling point for Scottish clubs when attracting young talent. Indeed, it is part of their transfer philosophy. But when were fans ever logical?

Perhaps that's why he was keen to set the record straight a little yesterday and outline his intention to stick it out at Celtic for the terms of his contract.

“I won’t look ahead too much, but I have signed a long term four-and-a-half-year contract and across all these years I want to be part of more and more success at the club,” he said.

“I’ve watched a lot of Celtic games recently and I can’t wait to get started here.

“The stadium is huge and with the reputation of these great fans I know the atmosphere at Celtic Park will be unlike anything anywhere else. The stadium is amazing, and I can only imagine how great it will be when it’s full of fans."

He already has an idea of course, having spoken to Ivorian compatriot Bayo ahead of the move.

"He has told me great things about Celtic and the fans, so I couldn’t be more excited to be here," he said.

“I’ll give everything and more to continue the success this club has achieved. The reception here has given me the desire to go and work even harder for the fans, my team-mates and the manager."

If he can do that, he'll have been worth the wait.