ODSONNE EDOUARD stole the show with hat-trick performance in Celtic’s impressive 5-1 opening-day triumph over Hamilton Accies at Parkhead.
And Neil Lennon is aware the highly-rated Frenchman will be in the spotlight for the next few weeks with English football taking a break until its kick off on September 12.
The Hoops boss acknowledges the fact scouts from across the border – and in Europe, too – will be keeping a close watch on the 22-year-old frontman who cost the club a record fee of £9million when they signed him from Paris Saint-Germain in June 2018.
However, the Irishman has warned interested onlookers they will face an almighty battle to prise the club’s talisman away from Scotland’s title kings while they attempt to make history with a tenth successive title triumph.
Speaking of reported interest in his player, Lennon told the Daily Record: “We can’t help that, it’s inevitable. But we’ll try to stave off any admirers.
“I’m sure there are plenty out there, but we love having him here and I’m sure he’s enjoying it. He’ll be well on the radar of clubs before the start of the season.
“He had 28 goals up until March last season and I was delighted with that goal return. I was delighted with the goals he got, too, he was on the end of things and that pleased me.
ONE…Odsonne Edouard leaves Accies keeper Ryan Fulton helpless with the opener.
TWO…Odsonne Edouard clips in James Forrest’s right-wing cross.
THREE…Odsonne Edouard knocks in his hat-trick with the Accies defence getting a close-up view on how it’s done.
“I was really pleased, he scored great goals. His volume of goals is really pleasing me.
“They were striker’s goals. Normally you associate Odsonne with brilliant individual goals, but there were a few tap-ins and a near-post run.
“I’m absolutely thrilled and I’m sure he’s happy, but we are as a team looking to build on what we’ve started with.”
Lennon continued: “I’ve worked with great strikers. I think he’s got the potential to be anything he wants to be, really.
“His all-round game, he’s a fantastic player. I’ve worked with all different types.
“Gary Hooper was a great goalscorer, Leigh Griffiths is a great goalscorer.
“I worked with Emile Heskey towards the end of his career and he’s right up there with any of them, no question.
“Odsonne keeps re-writing his own story here at the minute.”
On the overall display of his team, Lennon added: “To score five goals after such a lengthy lay-off speaks volumes for the players’ mentality and their quality, and their will to win.
“I’m absolutely thrilled by that. It’s totally different with all the protocols set in place, the lack of atmosphere and sometimes you have to generate that yourself.
“You’ve got to work through that. We’ve been away for four months and you need that match rhythm, getting into the routine of training and playing again.
“I felt we were a little bit undercooked going into the start as we hadn’t had enough games, through nobody’s fault.
“We’ve worked through it really well on this occasion, though to be fair to Hamilton they gave us some problems in the first-half.”