New Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard admits gun case was wake-up call

New Celtic signing Odsonne Edouard. Picture: Roddy Scott/SNS
New Celtic signing Odsonne Edouard. Picture: Roddy Scott/SNS
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Most forwards would have no objection to being described as a sharpshooter but one suspects that Odsonne Edouard, the striker who joined Celtic on a season-long loan from Paris St Germain late on transfer deadline day, would not take it as a compliment.

Like many teenagers, Edouard has occasionally exhibited symptoms of daft boyishness. Unfortunately for him, his high profile meant that his particular indiscretion caused more ripples than those committed by most of his peers.

A similar loan arrangement with Toulouse last season was terminated by the Ligue 1 club in February, when the 19-year-old was charged with firing an air gun at a passer-by, hitting him in the head. He was convicted of the offence last month, fined and handed a four-month suspended prison sentence.

Edouard did not attempt to duck the issue at Parkhead yesterday, claiming that he has learned from his mistakes and that he will not repeat them.

“The season at Toulouse was one where I really learned a lot,” he said. “It was my first time outside living outside Paris and it was also my 
first time as a first-team 
professional.

“I know I’ve made some mistakes but it’s all behind me and I’m really concentrating now on the future; that is what’s important to me. I didn’t worry
for my career but it really
forced me to think hard about what’s important. You could probably describe it as 
something bad which led to something really good.”

Like Patrick Roberts last season, Edouard finds himself in the unusual position of being able to face his parent club in the Champions League and he hopes to emulate the winger’s feat of finding the net against them when the teams meet at Celtic Park in the opening Group B fixture a week on Tuesday.

“It will be a bit bizarre, certainly different,” he conceded. “The atmosphere will be something special because the Champions League is big here. Ever since I was a kid I have always dreamed of playing in the Champions League and, on top of that, playing against [PSG] is going to be very special.

“I want to score in every game I play, so for this game if I can score I’ll score. It’s what I want to do whenever I play football. There is nothing in [my] contract that says I can’t play.

“Last year exactly the same situation happened in the French league, when I was at Toulouse on loan and I played against them, although I didn’t score.”

Edouard will also renew hostilities with childhood friend and rival Kylian Mbappe, the 18-year-old winger who has joined PSG on loan from Monaco on the condition that they must buy him for 
£166 million next summer.

“I know Kylian very well because we are childhood friends; we used to live very close to each other,” he said. “I played for Bobigny and Kylian played for Bondy in the north east of Paris so, from the start, there was a rivalry between the two clubs.

“It’s a really good thing that he’s signed for PSG. He deserves it because he had a fantastic season so it’s a good thing for him and for PSG.

“For me, the key thing is to concentrate on what is happening next week, making sure I train hard, work hard and then play.”

Countryman Olivier Ntcham has already texted a welcome message but Edouard is most looking forward to the opportunity of working with France Under-21 striker Moussa Dembele, pictured.

“Moussa comes from the PSG academy as well and, when you look at his career so far, then him coming here is an example to every player going through that academy,” he said. “He gives everyone motivation by seeing how he has grown and how he has improved. He has become a really good player and, in coming here, I am really looking forward to learning a lot from him.”

Edouard stated his immediate aims are to win the Premiership and the Scottish Cup and play for the senior French national team and he believes that Celtic can help him fulfil his international ambitions.

“I’m very happy to be here,” he said. “What attracted me to Celtic first of all was what I know about the atmosphere in the stadium but the coach and the management team also played a part.

“Brendan Rodgers met me in Paris last week and we talked a lot about football but also had some chit-chat about other things. What really
influenced my decision to come to Glasgow, though, was that they came with a project built around me.

“It wasn’t just about playing for Celtic – it was a project about how they intend to develop me as a player.”