'˜The best moment of my footballing life' - Celtic's Odsonne Edouard

At just 20, Odsonne Edouard has ample scope to carve out many special memories from what has the potential to become a prolific and hugely successful career, writes Stephen Halliday.

Odsonne Edouard celebrates Celtic's victory at full-time at Ibrox. Picture: SNS
Odsonne Edouard celebrates Celtic's victory at full-time at Ibrox. Picture: SNS

But the young striker says his match-winning heroics for Celtic at Ibrox on Sunday are already indelibly imprinted in his mind as a personal highlight he will cherish forever.

Edouard, pictured, made a dramatic and decisive contribution for the Scottish champions, scoring the clincher in their 3-2 success over Rangers just two minutes after entering the fray as a substitute.

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The on-loan Paris Saint Germain youngster vindicated manager Brendan Rodgers’ bold tactical reorganisation of his short-handed side after Jozo Simunovic’s dismissal for an elbow in the face of Rangers forward Alfredo Morelos.

Edouard’s cool finish, after collecting a clever pass from compatriot Moussa Dembele, was his eighth goal for Celtic and allowed him to savour his Old Firm debut.

“Without doubt, it’s the greatest moment of my life as a footballer so far and I will always remember this big moment for the rest of my career,” said Edouard.

“I’m delighted about the victory. What was especially important for me is that it was my first derby, so to score the winning goal was very special, which brings me a lot of happiness, and I’m particularly happy for the team.

“I’m a striker, so any time I get a goal I’m really happy. It was a very important game and one of our biggest matches of the season, so I was thrilled to score.

“The manager told me I was going up front with Moussa. We have played together before so we’ve a good understanding, and the manager encouraged me and gave me the confidence to go in and make a difference. It was a quick attack and the moment Moussa got the ball I knew he was going to give me a perfect pass. I received the ball, dribbled past one defender and then just put it into the net.”

While Edouard delivered the headline-grabbing moment of Celtic’s victory, he was quick to pay tribute to captain Scott Brown’s influence on their performance.

“He’s the leader of the team and he encourages us in every training session and in every single match,” Edouard told the Celtic website. “He was very happy after the game, and he congratulated us and then he congratulated me as well. He will continue to lead the team for a long time. After the red card, we were stronger mentally and we showed that we were together even more and that helped us achieve the victory.

“I am really proud and happy to be part of this team and to play under a super coach. It has been great to be part of this team this season.”

Celtic can now eye the finishing line in their pursuit of a seventh successive league title. But despite being nine points clear of Rangers at the top of the Premiership table, with a game in hand, Edouard insists they will not become complacent.

“Football can change really quickly,” he added. “We just have to keep training hard every day to make sure we can win the rest of the matches to win the title.”