Celtic make call on penalty taker after Rangers miss

If any moment summed up Celtic’s Ibrox Scottish Cup defeat on Sunday that ended the club’s four-year grip on the trophy, and ensured a first barren season since 2009/10, it was Odsonne Edouard’s 79th-minute penalty miss.

Odsonne Edouard's missed penalty in Sunday's Scottish Cup tie was only his second failure out of the 11 spot-kicks he has taken across his four seasons in Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

The absence of conviction in the attempt blocked by Allan McGregor to secure Rangers’ their 2-0 victory encapsulated so much. Chiefly, the wavering engagement that has stalked the Frenchman in a season-too-far in Scotland for a player destined to depart this summer.

Yet, Celtic interim manager John Kennedy will not be reconsidering penalty duties, or the continued presence of the striker, for the four Premiership dead rubbers facing his team, which begins away to Aberdeen. Edouard, who has had two penalties saved in the past nine months while converting six, retains Kennedy’s backing to step forward for any spot kick.

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Asked if the 24-year-old will be continuing on penalties, the interim manager said: “He will be, yes. I spoke to him after the game [on Sunday] but [that was] in terms of support, nothing else. He’s scored big goals in massive games for us and he’s a top, top player. The very best players miss penalties, unfortunately. At the weekend he didn’t hit his well but that’s part of football, and you can’t criticise the guy just for that.”

Edouard’s parting after four years in Scotland is expected to be one of the wholesale changes under a yet-to-be appointed new Celtic manager. It remains the case that Kennedy could be among those whose services are deemed surplus to requirements. If a new manager insists on an entire new backroom team then Kennedy’s seven years on the senior coaching staff of the boyhood club with which he has had a two-decade association would be brought to a close. The 37-year-old is well aware of that fact.

“It might [be that my future is elsewhere],” he said. “You always have to prepare for that, as it’s the same year on year if anything changes. But it’s not something I overly stress about. I focus on what I can control, which is preparing the team. Then if a hurdle comes along or a new challenge, whether it’s a change or anything else, I’ll address it and commit to it then.”

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