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AIR WE GO: BOSS COMPARES BAYO WITH LEGEND LARSSON

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NEIL LENNON has compared Vakoun Issouf Bayo with Celtic legend Henrik Larsson.

The Ivorian striker promised Hoops fans his main strength was his prowess in the air following his £2million switch from Slovakian outfit Dunajska Streda in January.

The support had to wait until Wednesday to see evidence of Bayo’s boast when he powered in his headed opener in the 5-0 victory over Partick Thistle in the midweek Betfred League Cup quarter-final at Parkhead – his first goal for the club.

The 22-year-old frontman has struggled with injuries since his arrival at the turn of the year, but Lennon reckons he is now ready to demonstrate his potential.

The champions’ boss, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “We like Vakoun and he’s got that aerial threat and that hanging time that Henrik used to have.

PARADISE…Vakoun Issouf Bayo after signing for the Hoops.

“Henrik was great regardless of whether the ball came in from the right or left. He could use his neck muscles and his timing for someone who wasn’t what you would call big was immaculate.

“The amount of goals he scored from corners and when you think of the two he scored in Seville – the first one was unbelievable because he had to generate his own power from the cross – he was one of the greats in that department.

“Bayo has got that natural talent for timing in the air which you don’t see very often nowadays because heading the ball is a lost art in the game.

“He brings an extra dimension to the way we play and it’s a nice asset to have. He hangs, gets the neck muscles going and heads it down which is always more difficult for a goalkeeper to get to.

“If you look at a lot of international teams, they still play with a big striker. France won the World Cup with Giroud, Croatia got to the final with Mandzukic, look at Morata and Torres before him with Spain.

STRIP, STRIP HOORAY…Celtic legend Henrik Larsson with his favourite Hoops shirt.

“Unselfish, as well, for the fifth goal on Wednesday. He could have taken the shot but he slipped Tom in so that was good awareness.

“I was very pleased with his performance, he has a lot of work to do still, but he is relishing the challenge.

“He’s a real threat and if we can get enough quality in to him you feel he’ll score.”

Celtic have blasted a remarkable FIFTY-ONE goals in just 17 games and Lennon has enjoyed the best start to a managerial reign of any Hoops boss with only two defeats in 30 games in charge of his second spell stretching back to February.

The Irishman added: “I’m delighted. There’s been good consistency in terms of the volume of chances and the amount we’re taking. We’re still very early in the season, but long may it continue.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report and best action images from Hibs v Celtic this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

 
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