Neil Lennon reveals a contingency plan is in place if Odsonne Edouard leaves

Fatigued striker asked to be left out of Livingston game

Odsonne Edouard watches Celtic's win over Livingston from the bench. Picture: Craig Williamson / SNS
Odsonne Edouard watches Celtic's win over Livingston from the bench. Picture: Craig Williamson / SNS

Celtic manager Neil Lennon sought to diffuse any suspicions Odsonne Edouard could be unsettled after the French striker was left out of the club's 3-2 victory over Livingston.

The 22-year-old told Lennon he was fatigued ahead of an encounter that allowed Celtic to move ahead of Rangers on goals scored, with the Ibrox club due to meet Hibernian on Sunday.

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The Irishman believes nothing more should be read into Edouard’s non-appearance despite Celtic’s attacking fulcrum being the source of constant conjecture amid the possibility of a club meeting the Scottish champions’ asking price of £40 million for their prize goalscorer in the closing fortnight of the window.

“He was away with France [Under-21s] and played two 90 minutes when he was away with them. He had missed the previous three games for us before that,” Lennon said.

“I spoke to him on Friday and he was struggling so you have to look after the player. Hopefully he will be fresh for Thursday [when Celtic face Riga in the Europa League in Latvia] which is a very important game for us.

“We do not want to sell. We have had no bids or confirmed interest in him. I am hoping come the end of the window he will still be a Celtic player. He is not causing any problems behind the scenes. He was honest enough today he was struggling and I take his word on that.

“He is not for sale. A lot of this rumbling behind the scene is speculation just now. There is a contingency and there will be a lot of talk about Odsonne. We just want him fit and ready for Thursday.”

Meanwhile, Lennon dismissed reports that Kristoffer Ajer has been the subject of a £15m bid from AC Milan. “It is disappointing these stories come out as it can be unsettling for the player,” he said. “There is no truth in it and I thought he played very well. We are having to deal with all the speculation but I’m oblivious to most of it.”

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