Neil Lennon is hoping that talisman Odsonne Edouard will return from his successful international break with France Under 21s, where his double against Switzerland in a 3-1 win guaranteed qualifications for the Under 21 Euros next summer.
Edouard started the new season with a hat-trick against Hamilton at Celtic Park but since then he’s scored just once in the league and has suffered from loss of form and illness, having caught the horrible Covid-19 virus during last month’s International break.
The French striker made a few appearances after that, just before heading back to France, but tellingly Neil Lennon made the call to drop him to the bench in Celtic’s last outing, the win at Motherwell.
Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Easter Road, where Celtic have not win in the league for several years, the Celtic manager has been speaking about his striker’s form this season and hopes that after his success against the Swiss, he’ll be closer to being back to his best for Celtic when the real football commences tomorrow. And Lennon reckons that it would be in Edouard’s own best interest, a reference to move that he covets at the end of the season.
It’s a point that we’ve made earlier in the week. While Kris Ajer and Ryan Christie are clearly playing their way to get their own exit plans sorted for the summer, Odsonne’s poor form is hardly going to impress potential suitors particularly given the sums of money that will be involved in any Celtic sanctioned transfer. It really is time to start delivering seems to be Lennon’s message.
“Listen, he’s a human being and he’s still young at 22 and there has been a lot of interest or speculation about him. There’s no question it affected him and his performances.
“He’s been away with France and maybe that will give him a little time at home as well,” Lennon told David Friel at Scottish Sun. “We’ll have a good discussion with him and, hopefully, he’ll kick on and get back to his best.
“What we have with Odsonne is an outstanding, talented player and it’s up to us to try and get the best out of him again. It’s also in his own best interests to knuckle down and get back to playing the way he can,” Lennon said.
“There are huge games coming up, ones in which he can inspire the team. We saw that last season when he had a stellar year. We know what he’s capable of and we understand why his form hasn’t been as good.
“We’re hoping he can settle down. He knows he’s loved by his team-mates, the staff and the fans and he can get back to doing what he does best and that is playing remarkable football.
“I’ll be delighted to have him, Leigh Griffiths and Patryk Klimala (who also scored this week on International duty with Poland) because they’re all different kinds of strikers. Albian Ajeti has shown his class and what he brings to the table too. We’re looking for a big season from him.
“We are going to need everyone fit and firing because of the number of games we are going to have between now and the end of the year.”