EBOUE KOUASSI is intent on making the break-through at Celtic this season and is happy to follow the lead of his captain Scott Brown who he calls ‘the big boss’.
Now 20, Kouassi has promised much in the few occasions he has got a sniff at the first team – he looked particularly good in the 1-0 win over Zenit St Petersburg at Celtic Park in February – but for one reason or another there has never been a big enough run of games for him to bed himself into the first team.
Brendan Rodgers spent just over £2million on the player when he signed him in January 2017 window from Russian side Krasnodar.
After an initial illness on his arrival in Scotland and one or two slight injury problems, the midfielder is now ready to follow Brown’s lead and make an impact on the Scottish game.
“Scott is a big guy, a main guy for Celtic. I always look to how he plays because he has such a big mentality over the entire team. He is the leader.
“He is the big boss in the team. He is our captain. The big boss is the gaffer, Brendan Rodgers, but Scott is the other boss, the boss on the field,” said Kouassi.
“What did I think when I first met Scott? I wouldn’t say I was scared of him. I have sometimes kicked him in training! But I respected him right away.
“When I didn’t play so much last season he would talk to me about it. He said to me: ‘Don’t get angry, you are young, wait for your chance and work hard’. Every time he spoke to me he was great. He always had advice.
“He told me I could be a good player, but that I was still learning. I had to be patient and my chance would come.”
Kouassi certainly played his part in the impressive 3-0 win over Alashkert on Tuesday. He replaced Olivier Ntcham midway through the second half and looked very composed as Celtic added two late strikes to win the match and effectively progress to play Valur of Rosenborg – The Icelandic Champions take a 1-0 lead to Norway next week.
“I hope this is the start for me. I want to have more responsibility in the team. We shall have to wait and see. Playing in such a big game does give me confidence.
“Every time I play I am very happy and want to prove myself. I have to wait for my chance to get into the team.
“As a team, we have good mentality now and a good spirit, so this is why we will be better than last season.
“I want to play more, all I can do is work hard and do my best when the manager gives me my chance.”