NEIL LENNON has leapt to the defence of Odsonne Edouard following his last couple of lacklustre displays against St Mirren in Paisley and FC Riga in Latvia.

The French striker, the champions’ top scorer last season with 28 goals, appear to be struggling for his best form while he is caught up in intense transfer speculation.

The window is due to close a week tomorrow and the Hoops boss will be relieved if it comes and goes and Edouard remains at Parkhead.

The club’s record £9million buy from Paris Saint-Germain in June 2018 was hooked in his last two games and even squandered a penalty-kick 15 minutes from the end of the hard-fought 2-1 win over the Saints.

He came off again on Thursday night in the Europa League third qualifier and his replacement, Mohamed Elyounoussi, claimed the game’s only goal in the last minute.

The frontman had also been rested in the match against Livingston last weekend where Albian Ajeti claimed the points-clincher in a 3-2 success over the West Lothian outfit.

Lennon, who is still pondering whether or not to start the player against Hibs this afternoon, told the Scotland on Sunday: “He’s a human being at the end of the day, he’s 22.

“We know what a talent he is. He didn’t have the best of games, but we know what we’ve got with Odsonne, he’s a quality player.

“We don’t want him to go, obviously, and we have had no significant interest in him as yet. There’s always a bit of agitation when the window’s open, but, speaking to him, he seems content enough.

“He didn’t have his best of games in Latvia, but that’s fine.”

Lennon admitted he will take a “deep breath” when the transfer deadline passes and is also looking to do some business in bringing in at least one new face to the club.

The left-back position, with Greg Taylor requiring a competitor since blunder Bhoy Boli Bolingoli’s season-long loan switch to Turkey, remains a priority.

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

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