EBOUE KOUASSI, after a low key start to life as a Celtic player, has in recent weeks been given an opportunity by Brendan Rodgers to show what he can do.
And while he wasn’t at his best on Saturday at Kilmarnock – frankly who was? – he had done enough in the back to back wins over visitors from Edinburgh to suggest that he could be an exceptional performer in the Celtic engine room.
Kouassi ‘s nickname before arriving in Glasgow was ‘The Lion’ as after completing his £2.8million move to Celtic last January he must have felt right at home as all Celtic supporters seemed to do was celebrate their homegrown Lions.
But the warm welcome aside Kouassi struggled to get match-time, due to illness and injury and eventually the Celtic manager had to decide whether he wanted to use him or lose him. A loan deal was not considered and the Irishman hatched his plan to turn Eboue into the next Broony.
He’ll need a heart of a lion is he is to live up to those type of expectations but the 20 year old midfielder certainly has it in him.
“The Lion?” he asked.
“I like this nickname. It means the big guys in the jungle so for me on the pitch I want to be a lion. That’s why I like it.
“You see on the pitch that I am very aggressive. When the lion goes to take something, he goes with full power and that’s why I like it.
“When I was in Russia they called me ‘The Lion’ because in training or in the team, every time I was always trying.
“It’s always about focus and determination. If I play or if I don’t play, I am always positive because the first thing is the work.
“The first thing is to work for the future, so even if I play or if I don’t play, every time I am focused for the future.
“It was difficult for me when I arrived. When I came here, I had an injury.
“But the first thing is my work. I have to work to stay focused, so for me it is important to do that.
“I don’t have any problems with this. I talked with the manager and he told me what he wants from me.
“But I understand that we have many, many players for the midfield, so I just have to work and wait for my time.”
* Kouassi was talking to Celtic TV.