EBOUE KOUASSI is determined to follow the example of ‘the big boss’ – Scott Brown – to make the first team breakthrough at Celtic.

The 20-year-old Ivory Coast midfielder was signed by Brendan Rodgers from Russian outfit Krasnodar for £2.3million  18 months ago, but illness and injury have stalled his career with the seven-in-a-row champions.

Kouassi, though, has revealed the Hoops skipper is his inspiration as he attempts to make his mark at Parkhead.

He said: “Scott is a big guy, a main guy for Celtic. I always look to how he plays because he has such a big mentality over the entire team. He is the leader.

“He is the big boss in the team. He is our captain. The big boss is the gaffer, Brendan Rodgers, but Scott is the other boss, the boss on the field.

“What did I think when I first met Scott? I wouldn’t say I was scared of him. I have sometimes kicked him in training! But I respected him right away.

“When I didn’t play so much last season he would talk to me about it. He said to me: ‘Don’t get angry, you are young, wait for your chance and work hard’. Every time he spoke to me he was great. He always had advice.

“He told me I could be a good player, but that I was still learning. I had to be patient and my chance would come.”

Kouassi came on for Olivier Ntcham in the 68th minute of Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Alashkert in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier in Armenia with Rodgers’ side already leading through Odsonne Edouard’s first-half stoppage-time strike.

The youngster added: “I hope this is the start for me. I want to have more responsibility in the team. We shall have to wait and see.

“Playing in such a big game does give me confidence.

“Every time I play I am very happy and want to prove myself. I have to wait for my chance to get into the team.

“As a team, we have good mentality now and a good spirit, so this is why we will be better than last season.

“I want to play more, all I can do is work hard and do my best when the manager gives me my chance.”

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