Celtic’s French Fancies, ‘Top Talent’ Ntcham plus Edouard’s ‘upwards trajectory’, better than Dembele?

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FORMER Celtic manager Davie Hay has today praised two of Celtic’s French stars for their recent performances. And he pointed out the key tactical change that Neil Lennon made at Ibrox by introducing Olivier Ntcham when he did, as a significant factor in the Hoops seeing out the game and adding a second goal in stoppage time.

Both Ntcham and Odsonne Edouard were heavily involved in that wonderful goal from Jonny Hayes and Edouard had already set up another Beautiful Sunday with his calm, cool finish after Mikey Johnston’s pass split opened the Ibrox defence with thirty minutes on the clock.

And Hay is absolutely right to praise Oliver Ntcham, who was superb in his Ibrox cameo role, in a midfield battle that Celtic won from start to finish, much to the surprise of the home side.

“The Frenchman was superb when he came on, and showed once again that when he is in the mood, there is probably not a more talented midfield player in the country,” Hay stated in his Evening Times column.

“His use of the ball was great, his technique was there for all to see, and it must frustrate Neil Lennon that he doesn’t always bring his ‘A’ game to the table.

When he is on song, he is a joy to watch, and a real asset to this Celtic team.”

Ntcham scored the winner last September against the Rangers

And the former Celtic manager was left scratching his head that there has actually a debate debate on who is the best striker in the Scottish Premiership, with some actually brass necked enough to argue that Alfredo Morelos is the deserving of that accolade.

Just have a look at this miss, which is just about as bad as it can get for a striker…

Davie Hay is in no doubt who is the best hitman operating in Scotland these days and it certainly isn’t the misfiring Ibrox man who rather embarrassingly has yet to open his account against Celtic.

Some even argued that it was another Ibrox striker, Englishman Jermain Defoe who was the top dog but the former Celtic manager, who led Celtic to a Scottish Cup win in 1985 and to league flag glory at Love Street on 3 May 1986, was having none of that either.

“All of the talk in the run-up to the game was how Alfredo Morelos was on fire, and although it was a surprise to see him start the game on the bench, there had also been a lot of chat about the red-hot form of Jermain Defoe,” Hay noted.

“As it turned out, neither Defoe nor Morelos when he came on were able to lay much of a glove on a Celtic defence that was hugely inexperienced in the fixture, while Odsonne Edouard had the regular Rangers defensive partnership of Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic – who had also been getting rave reviews – in a flap for much of the afternoon.”

Plenty of trouble for Morelos but no goals against Celtic

“It wasn’t just his goal, though he showed remarkable composure as he tucked it home under Allan McGregor, but his all-round play and intelligence that proved a handful for the home defence.

“I see he scored a couple on his debut for the French under-21 side last week too, and there seems to be an upwards trajectory to his career that mirrors his good friend Moussa Dembele.”

And talking of Moussa Dembele, where were you on this day, three years ago. If like me you were at Celtic Park, then you’d have enjoyed an incredible afternoon as the young Frenchman absolutely tore the Ibrox side apart, netting a brilliant hat trick in a 5-1 skelping.

Dembele absolutely tormented the Rangers in his time in Glasgow and perhaps the Ibrox support were more than a little relieved when Celtic accepted the £20million bid from Lyon last summer.

But losing Dembele allowed Celtic to ‘promote’ Edouard to the club’s main striker role and the results have been pretty spectacular.

Indeed many Celtic Supporters are coming to the conclusion that Edouard, who scored four goals for France Under 21s in a game and a half over the last four days, is the best Celtic striker the club have had since the King of Kings himself, Henrik Larsson.

Moussa Dembele, loved a goal or three against the Rangers

The support of course are realistic enough to know that we’ll only be able to hold onto such a top talent – some are starting describe Edouard as being World Class – for the longer term, so we’ll have to enjoy him while he’s still here.

“Hopefully, Edouard’s inevitable big move will be a while away yet and Celtic fans will get to enjoy him for a while longer, but it may well be the eventual destination of Morelos and Edouard once they leave Scottish football that will provide the real evidence of just who is the better player.

To my mind, Edouard has the potential to go right to the very top,” Davie Hay concluded.

It’s getting increasing difficult for anyone, including the Rangers fans, to argue with that.

ALSO ON THE CELTIC STAR TODAY…

‘I wasn’t happy with my performance at all,’ Scotland’s Man of the Match Ryan Christie…see HERE.

Jock Stein, ‘The coal miner who Won the Biggest Cup of them all’…see HERE.

Czech Mate – Celtic’s sensational striker is the talk of French Football after four goal blitz…see HERE.

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