ODSONNE EDOUARD has let the supporters and himself down with his erratic performances in Celtic’s wretched season.
That’s the verdict of Hoops goal hero Frank McAvennie as he sums up the French ace’s displays in which he has failed to have the presence or threat expected of a striker who claimed 28 goals in the previous campaign and ended the term on fire.
However, Edouard failed to spark in the first half of a season that promised so much in the summer and failed to deliver when the fans were anticipating the glory of a historic tenth successive title.
The 23-year-old frontman, the Hoops’ record buy at £9million from Paris Saint-Germain in June 2018, looks to be on his way out of Parkhead, despite still having 14 months to run on his contract. AC Milan have been linked with him for months while former boss Brendan Rodgers, who brought him to Glasgow, has been showing an interest in taking him to Leicester City. Arsenal, too, have been reported to be monitoring his situation.
WATCHING BRIEF…Odsonne Edouard takes stock of the action.
And it looked as though Edouard was about to deliver big-style on Flag Day on August 2 when he rolled in a hat-trick in a 5-1 victory over Hamilton Accies. Remarkably, though, he failed to score another Premiership goal from open play until December 30 when he lobbed in the final strike in the 3-0 victory over Dundee United.
His other three goals up to that stage had come from the penalty spot and he even managed to fluff a spot-kick when his tame shot was pushed away by Bobby Zlamal in the narrow 2-1 win over St Mirren in Paisley in September.
Iconic hitman McAvennie said: “Eddy is a top player, but like everyone else he’s not done it this season. He’s a better player than he has shown.
“I don’t think there’s anything holding him back in terms of ability. He could go to the very top.
“Does he deserve to go to a big club at the moment? I don’t know.
“The way he’s played this season, he’s let the supporters and himself down because he’s better than that.
“But he’s destined for the top. He’s got everything in him to be a top striker. He likes it into feet. Jonjoe Kenny has been firing balls into the box and I look and think if that was Ally McCoist or myself on the end of it there would be goals.
“But that’s not Eddy’s game. He likes the spectacular. Unless he beats four players and puts it in the top corner he doesn’t want to know.”
A ROUND OF APPLAUSE…John Kennedy was impressed by the six-hit Celts at the weekend.
McAvennie, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “However, he is a wonderful talent and it’s no surprise the top teams will be looking at him.
“But until someone comes in for him and he moves, he’s a Celtic player.
“Reading between the lines, it’s been agreed he will move on, but who knows?”
McAvennie reckons his old club have the players to win their Scottish Cup fourth round tie at Ibrox which has been switch to Sunday afternoon with a 3pm kick-off, as CQN reported.
He agrees with interim manager John Kennedy who believes they are the best team in the country when they click as they proved in the 6-0 romp against Livingston at the weekend when opposing keeper Robby McCrorie was the visitors’ Man of the Match with a series of superb saves that prevented the scoreline hitting double figures.
McAvennie commented: “John is saying that about them individually. I’ve always felt Celtic had a great squad, but, unfortunately, individually is what Celtic have been playing this season.
“They’ve not played as a team. Rangers have played as a team.
“It doesn’t matter how many individuals you have, if you don’t play as a team you’ll get beaten. I think Celtic have turned up at the start of the season thinking: ‘We’ll win this’.
HIGH AND MIGHTY…Kristoffer Ajer leaps above the St Mirren defence to thump in a header in the 2-1 win in September.
“There was a wee bit of arrogance from the board and the players to think Rangers weren’t going to put in the kind of performance they have. You have to credit them, they’ve won the league well.
“But Celtic haven’t turned up. I enjoyed the performance on Saturday, but there haven’t been enough of them this season. But if they turn up this weekend they can give Rangers a game.”
McAvennie added: “The defence has been the downside for me this season. Every time Celtic have conceded a corner or free-kick, you’re thinking it could end up a goal.
“That’s not right. Middle to front they still have decent players but the problems have been at the back.
“By all accounts big Ajer has had a great season – well, that’s according to him.
“But it’s not about individuals. It’s not about him thinking he’s had a good season, it’s about having a good season as a team and the back four hasn’t been very good.
“Too many of them have been playing for themselves, rather than for the team. I don’t like the ‘I’m all right, Jack’ stuff.
“Ajer might go to a league where there is not much heading the ball. Unfortunately, it’s part of football and I’ve never seen a centre-half who doesn’t want to head the ball. I don’t know what’s going on with the zonal marking either, but if it’s half the battle if you have guys who want to go and win it.
“Celtic are too nice at the back right now. I wouldn’t mind playing against these defenders when I was at my pomp.”