Why the outside perceptions of Odsonne Edouard are not shared within the Celtic dressing room

There is a general belief that Celtic might still have purchase in a title now beyond them had they full buy-in from Odsonne Edouard across the entire campaign.

Celtic's Greg Taylor says Odsonne Edouard's commitment should not be questioned. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Yet, whatever the wanderlust that afflicted the Frenchman across the summer, the notion that the 23-year-old continues to lollop around does scant justice to how much his influence is burgeoning once more.

A superbly constructed and executed goal from Edouard was central to Celtic’s 2-1 win at home to Motherwell; a success that involved them surviving a late scare after leading their visitors a merry dance for more than an hour. It followed on from a midweek double in the 4-0 victory at Kilmarnock that brought him two goals in a single game for the first time since his hat-trick against Hamilton on the opening weekend of the season. Indeed, the return of his goal sensor means he has now netted 17 in the past seven months. Helped by his penalty duties, he has only failed to score in one of his past seven outings - that blank coming in the Ibrox derby loss when he really ought to have netted. All of which hardly points to a player simply marking time before his inevitable departure in the summer.

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Celtic full-back Greg Taylor would challenge the perception of Edouard, whose season was disrupted by contracting Covid-19, as ever dialling it in. “Someone said the other day Odsonne has scored 70-odd goals since he joined Celtic. It’s crazy numbers in such a short amount of time,” said the Scotland international of Edouard’s three-and-a-half years at Parkhead that have brought 79 goals in 119 starts and 36 substitute appearances.

“To be honest, it is testament to him because he works hard every single day and has that top-quality in his play to go with it. It’s very rare that he misses games and it seems that he is constantly fit. That is also credit to him. Sometimes when he is playing up there, it can be by himself or part of a two, but he certainly gets plenty of bumps and bruises from defenders, but he just gets on with it. He continues to keep wanting to take the ball, to try and create something for a team-mate or finish things off himself. Odsonne has a personal pride in his performance and he puts it in every day. In training as well as games. That’s certainly all that I have seen from him.”

Taylor will hope to see such focus again against St Mirren in Paisley on Wednesday. Neil Lennon’s men are in no position to take advantage of Rangers’ draw at Hamilton on Sunday because of the horrendous display against Jim Goodwin’s men a week past on Saturday that ensures they remain 21 points behind the Ibrox runaway leaders, having played two fewer games. The freshness of the season’s low-point will enter Celtic minds in midweek, acknowledged Taylor, when asked if he felt Lennon’s men owed St Mirren one.

“That’s certainly safe to say. It was a disappointing result, and more a disappointing performance against them at home. It’s just another game and looking for another three points, but it is certainly in the back of your mind when it is so close.”

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